Monday, June 10, 2013

Moving beyond "Field of Dreams"

"Field of Dreams" is a terrific movie. If you haven't seen it, it's about a Iowa corn farmer who suddenly hear voice telling him that if he build it, he will come. Under threat of bankruptcy, the farmer plows his corn field to build a baseball field. The movie has a happy ending with people coming to watch baseball. Unfortunately, people don't hear voices too much. Building just based on a "dream" tends to lead to failure.

Nevertheless, I've seen so many companies following this path - "If you build it, it will sell". I haven't really seen any of these companies actually succeed, but they still hold this belief. Some have added "planning" - "If you plan it and build it, it will sell". This is true in some market, but I haven't seen any IT company succeed with this approach either because the market keeps changing.

It seems most human being don't have innate gift of knowing the right thing to build. We waste resources by building wrong things instead of being inefficient in our tasks. If a company is measuring utilization rate of their employee instead of trying to become a more of a learning organization, the company is actually wasting resources.

"Field of Dreams" is a good movie, but I'll rather bet on Lean Startup to start a business.

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