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BOOK Blue Ocean Strategy vs Blue Ocean Shift - Which Would You Recommend If You Could Only Read One?

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Black_Dragon43

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After Psychocybernetics, one of these two will be my next read. I've heard from a few people that the books cover similar ground, but Blue Ocean Shift was written afterwards and is much more practical than Blue Ocean Strategy.

So if you have read both books, which one would you recommend to someone short on time who wants to get the most out of it?
 

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The Patriot Way

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After Psychocybernetics, one of these two will be my next read. I've heard from a few people that the books cover similar ground, but Blue Ocean Shift was written afterwards and is much more practical than Blue Ocean Strategy.

So if you have read both books, which one would you recommend to someone short on time who wants to get the most out of it?
I've read both and thought they were both excellent and practical (course, I'm still trading my time for money three years later so take that with a grain of salt haha). My view is that Blue Ocean Strategy, which came first, is a paradigm shifter. It takes a unique approach as to how entrepreneurs should think about innovation and competition. Blue Ocean Shift is for people who understand and accept the Blue Ocean Strategy already, and then gives more applicable ways to actually put it into practice when starting or growing a business, i.e. the "buyer utility map" and how to find pain points in existing industries.

You can read a summary of Blue Ocean Shift on Blinkist right now, which is giving free premium access for a few more weeks. I'd definitely read Blue Ocean Strategy in full though. Both books give real-world examples of the strategy put into practice.
 

Kevin88660

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After Psychocybernetics, one of these two will be my next read. I've heard from a few people that the books cover similar ground, but Blue Ocean Shift was written afterwards and is much more practical than Blue Ocean Strategy.

So if you have read both books, which one would you recommend to someone short on time who wants to get the most out of it?
From my own experience of observing contemporary business and market demand, the idea of blue ocean vs read ocean is an outdated distraction is most of the time.

If you cannot be one of the best in making the value cost trade off in the existing demand, forget about exploiting new demand and make a major breakthrough.

In today’s business the companies that are making a killing in the red ocean are the ones that have the best potential to do well in the blue ocean segments too.

Innovating into unproven market demand costs time and money. Many times “blue ocean concepts” become snake oil marketing gimmicks for businessmen who fail to explain why their products cost more for the same value.
 
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Black_Dragon43

Black_Dragon43

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From my own experience of observing contemporary business and market demand, the idea of blue ocean vs read ocean is an outdated distraction is most of the time.

If you cannot be one of the best in making the value cost trade off in the existing demand, forget about exploiting new demand and make a major breakthrough.

In today’s business the companies that are making a killing in the red ocean are the ones that have the best potential to do well in the blue ocean segments too.

Innovating into unproven market demand costs time and money. Many times “blue ocean concepts” become snake oil marketing gimmicks for businessmen who fail to explain why their products cost more for the same value.
I haven't read the book, but based on what I know I'll tell you this. Market conditions (demand vs supply) play a HUGE role in how easy a business is to run and scale.

Let me give you a few examples.

I run a direct response agency which is my main business. Digital marketing is one of the reddest oceans out there. Yes, it is possible to make a killing by great marketing. You have to put a ton of effort, automate outreach, create innovative campaigns, use complex funnels and creative messaging and target lesser known pain-points. But this is painful. It's a lot of effort. It's hard! Clients, by and large, don't come to you. You have to go get them. Unless you marketing is top 1%, you're going to fail.

I also am involved in two other businesses, which I do not run, but I am an investor in, or am on their board in one function or another. One of these companies has very little competition. The field isn't very well-known, there are not many people who have the expertise to deliver those services. You can rank on the first page of Google for top keywords with just 6 articles total, NO external backlinks. Clients reach out to you by themselves. You don't need to do any paid advertising, no systematic outreach, marketing is all very straightforward and simple. An idiot could do it.

There is a BIG difference between that first market which is hypercompetitive, and that second market, which is not. You can make money in the hypercompetitive market, and it's a great challenge. But you can truly make a killing in the non-competitive one if you bring to it the same skills. So market conditions, however you want to call them, do make a huge difference.
 
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Black_Dragon43

Black_Dragon43

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@Kevin88660

I will give you another example. I know a friend who started an online store selling in a particular niche. Nobody else is doing what he's doing. His marketing, if you look at it, the way his ads are structured and everything is TERRIBLE. Bottom 20% for sure. And yet, his sales are growing very very FAST. You'd be surprised. Why? Because there's a need, without much competition. Even with terrible marketing and execution skills, you can still win in such a niche.

So market forces are very important. There really is no way around this.
 

Kevin88660

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I haven't read the book, but based on what I know I'll tell you this. Market conditions (demand vs supply) play a HUGE role in how easy a business is to run and scale.

Let me give you a few examples.

I run a direct response agency which is my main business. Digital marketing is one of the reddest oceans out there. Yes, it is possible to make a killing by great marketing. You have to put a ton of effort, automate outreach, create innovative campaigns, use complex funnels and creative messaging and target lesser known pain-points. But this is painful. It's a lot of effort. It's hard! Clients, by and large, don't come to you. You have to go get them. Unless you marketing is top 1%, you're going to fail.

I also am involved in two other businesses, which I do not run, but I am an investor in, or am on their board in one function or another. One of these companies has very little competition. The field isn't very well-known, there are not many people who have the expertise to deliver those services. You can rank on the first page of Google for top keywords with just 6 articles total, NO external backlinks. Clients reach out to you by themselves. You don't need to do any paid advertising, no systematic outreach, marketing is all very straightforward and simple. An idiot could do it.

There is a BIG difference between that first market which is hypercompetitive, and that second market, which is not. You can make money in the hypercompetitive market, and it's a great challenge. But you can truly make a killing in the non-competitive one if you bring to it the same skills. So market conditions, however you want to call them, do make a huge difference.
The premise of the blue ocean strategy is innovate yourself out the existing value cost trade off the avoid competition on the same field. Basically it is tell you in 2007 stop being a better version of Nokia and LG phone, go and be a smart Iphone that deliver comprehensive mobile internet experience.

My experience and observation that in today’s world it is easier to be a better version of your competitor than to innovate into unknown territory. In short red ocean is not as scary as it is but blue ocean is a lot harder than you think.

A lot of traditional business are declared to be “red ocean” because everyone is doing the same thing at the same cost and offering the same value. But a lot of traditional business has not gone through the modern data driven approach to test and optimize at many micro segments that could drive cost down and bring revenue up.

I think what you are talking about in marketing agency vs your own investment is about choosing the right business/industry. That’s like another topic that could worth a separate thread. My business mentor taught me is that In business demand comes first, supply comes second. A good business demand is one that serves the inevitable needs that occur during the life-stage cycle of a human being, or helps them to settle their daily needs in everyday life. The life stages are “birth, aging, illness and death”. The daily needs necessity are “clothings, food, living and transportation”. These come from an Asian proverbs and it is a more of a group based metaphorical understanding than a literal understanding. In short avoid services that are too aspirational in human needs. An highly competitive field with good and stable demand is still much better than an undersupplied market with poor/unstable demand. And an obscure/unpopular market sometimes has a good demand but is often neglected for being “not cool”.

What are the business you invested in? Mind sharing more?
 

Kevin88660

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@Kevin88660

I will give you another example. I know a friend who started an online store selling in a particular niche. Nobody else is doing what he's doing. His marketing, if you look at it, the way his ads are structured and everything is TERRIBLE. Bottom 20% for sure. And yet, his sales are growing very very FAST. You'd be surprised. Why? Because there's a need, without much competition. Even with terrible marketing and execution skills, you can still win in such a niche.

So market forces are very important. There really is no way around this.
I am curious about what are the market needs they are serving right now. The successful examples you saw and participated in.
 

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Why can you only read one
 
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Black_Dragon43

Black_Dragon43

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Why can you only read one
Well, I have a very long list of books that I'm going through apart from running my agency. So it doesn't make sense to spend time reading both books, since they're on the same subject, by the same authors. The marginal value I'll get from reading the second one after I read the first one is much lower. I have to prioritize my reading, so after I read one of them, the other one will go to the bottom of the pile most likely, to be read at some very distant future date. Makes sense?
 
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Black_Dragon43

Black_Dragon43

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What are the business you invested in? Mind sharing more?
I don't feel comfortable with that, since, as I said, the niche is not very well known, but quite profitable. So these secrets are hard to come by.

But about the business my friend runs (which I'm not invested in), I can share that they are basically reinventing the way of selling a commodity which has been sold for a very long time in my country. But before, it was getting sold in retail stores only. So in a retail store, for example, you are limited by the space you have when it comes to the variety of goods that you can display. Online, he has in a single place a lot greater variety. Then the added benefit that customers can design their products online, without actually coming into a store.

So here it's really about turning an existing red ocean, into a blue ocean. Changing how a previous product is marketed and sold. His company reached $6 million in revenues last year (took 3 years to get to this number).

So the innovation doesn't necessarily have to come on the product side - as in the iPhone example you gave. So long as the innovation increases the value for customers, it's good enough, even if it comes on the marketing side. Like you say:
But a lot of traditional business has not gone through the modern data driven approach to test and optimize at many micro segments that could drive cost down and bring revenue up.
I see this as a blue ocean within a red ocean. It's a different way that innovates on the value provided.
 

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Kevin88660

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I don't feel comfortable with that, since, as I said, the niche is not very well known, but quite profitable. So these secrets are hard to come by.

But about the business my friend runs (which I'm not invested in), I can share that they are basically reinventing the way of selling a commodity which has been sold for a very long time in my country. But before, it was getting sold in retail stores only. So in a retail store, for example, you are limited by the space you have when it comes to the variety of goods that you can display. Online, he has in a single place a lot greater variety. Then the added benefit that customers can design their products online, without actually coming into a store.

So here it's really about turning an existing red ocean, into a blue ocean. Changing how a previous product is marketed and sold. His company reached $6 million in revenues last year (took 3 years to get to this number).

So the innovation doesn't necessarily have to come on the product side - as in the iPhone example you gave. So long as the innovation increases the value for customers, it's good enough, even if it comes on the marketing side. Like you say:

I see this as a blue ocean within a red ocean. It's a different way that innovates on the value provided.
Online replacing retail. I see. Using modern business marketing tool can do a lot of changes to traditional business. That is one field I am looking at.

A lot of baby boomer business owners do not even know how to use whatsapp to communicate with clients. There are major areas of improvement to be made.
 

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