Sunday, July 10, 2011

The meek will inherit your market share

You can find almost 2,600 titles on just on motivation. Books abound about how to be more assertive, more confident, more ambitious. It is time someone spoke up for humility. 

Japanese don't innovate. Instant ramen is the sole invention from Japan. And that's okay. They just admit they don't know everything and learn--religiously--from others.  Detroit, which has been creating most of the innovation, yet losing market share. They were not humble enough to learn from Asia, and they sometimes lacked humility toward customers. After living 14 years in Japan, I don't believe that Japanese products are necessarily higher quality. But being modest is certainly serving them well.

Amazon (an internet seller you may have heard of) is meek in the way they interact with customers. They don't assume they know the hearts of consumers better than the consumers themselves.  They talk to customers respectfully. They try different products and promotions, and let customers decide if they like those products. And Amazon doesn't need to control both the hardware and software. If Apple and Sony or anyone else wants to create a device to directly compete with Kindle, that is fine. No ultimatums about "no room in Dodge City for both of us," and no gunslinging in the street. "Here, have our reader app for free," they respond. "Feel welcome to read kindle books on your PC or smartphone."

Humility is the foundational virtue. 

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