Battlespeed - 5:02 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)
Ternary Thinking: Seek the "third way".
Be wary of becoming ensnared in false or oversimplified binary models of the (real) world - whether it's a decision tree, a business plan, a political campaign strategy, a program to immunize children in the Third World - whatever.
Example: Your business is "sticky"; mine isn't. A mobile lunch truck isn't "inherently" sticky, but one in my city creates enormous stickiness - superglue, in fact. They (a) follow a very carefully planned, consistent route, hitting the same places at the same time reliably every day; (b) offer a "loyalty" ticket - 5 stamps on the ticket and your next drink is free even if you don't buy lunch; (c) use text messages to distribute coupons. Show your text message and get half off on a sandwich or something else; (d) have a mobile-friendly order form; your lunch is already boxed and ready when they hit the site. And last but not least, (e) they serve great sandwiches, scrumptious soup and really fresh salads. Imagine people who could go out for lunch but who PREFER to get lunch from the truck.
Now, these are people who believed there was a "third way" - an alternative to the usual BINARY choice for people who don't bring their lunch to work: I can eat lousy "lunch truck food" OR I can go to a restaurant to get a "decent meal". These people challenged the established decision tree, and I'm sure you can easily guess "the rest of the story". They're adding trucks and routes as rapidly as they can, but in a controlled way that preserves the integrity of their ternary business model.
There's a lot of false binary modeling on display in this thread and it's neither necessary or useful to take a "pro-Google" OR an "anti-Google" position. There is no business that is inherently "helplessly dependent" on Google for traffic; there is no business that is smart to ignore (fail to optimize for), "bypass" or try to "defeat" Google's ranking algorithms. For every single business out there - with NO exceptions - there is always a third way, like the paid membership site that gets over half its membership from emails she collects by giving something away at street fairs.