How do you as an individual, “be different”?  As a company?  How do you create value that stands out from others providing your services?  And if your services fall in the same category as others, you must not be different, right?  Shouldn’t you then be in your own category?

Catching up on some blog reading, Brian Buck (@brianbuck) posted about a new book by Youngme Moon called  Different.

One clip in the video caught my attention:


However, simply being a smaller version of the bigger thing isn’t going to do it.  For me, “smaller” as a software company may in itself be different, but I need to do things that the big companies can’t do.  For me, I have always tried to focus on:

  • Going to the “software gemba”: this is where it all started for me.  My own personal frustration with software companies and the applications themselves.  I got frustrated watching users fight with applications that should have improved organizational processes, but sometimes seemed to only hinder.  I still get the most value by talking with users directly and with observing how they use software to manage their information flow.  My “best ideas” are simply insights gained at the “gemba”.
  • Action: Have an idea to enhance the product?  Something not working as expected?  Want a new feature?  I love ideas.  I strive to get ideas implemented quickly, something I think is significantly easier for a nimble organization than a large one.  Product changes are implemented in days instead of “in the next release sometime next year.”  I have even implemented something new while in an on-line support session with a client.  You won’t be routed to a call center overseas with LeanTech, you have direct access to someone understanding not only the product, but your individual business needs.

The “Different” video has gotten me thinking about other ways to differentiate.  I always want to find ways to give clients the best possible experience of working with a software vendor.  I’ve started cataloging some value-creating excellence here

The video below is one of the items I bookmarked recently.  It shows an amazing way to stand out, in this case for a photographer, but it should definitely get the creative juices going for your own organization.

Casey Templeton Photography 2010 Promo from Casey Templeton on Vimeo.


Promotional video for “Different” is embedded below: