Maximize the opportunities of others.

In every aspect of your business (and personal life) try to allow others to build their success around your own success. If you run a hotel, what can you do to permit others–airlines, luggage retailers, tour guides–to be part of your network? Rather than viewing their dependency on your success as a form of parasitism, or worse, as a rip-off, understand this tight coupling as sustenance. You want to entice others to create services centered around the customer attention you have won, or to supply add-ons to your product, or even, if it is a new-fangled idea, to create legal imitations. This is a counter-intuitive stance at first, but it plays right into the logic of the net. A small piece of an expanding pie is the biggest piece of all. Software is especially primed to work this way. The programmers who created the hit game Doom deliberately made it easy to modify. The results: Hundreds of other gamers issued versions of Doom that were vastly better than the original, but that ran on the Doom system. Doom boomed and so did some of the derivatives. The software economy is full of such examples. Third-party templates for spreadsheets, word processors, and browsers make profits for both the third-party vendor and the host system. It takes only a bit of imagination to see how the leveraging of opportunities also works in domains outside of software. When confronted with a fork in the road, if all things are equal, go down the path that makes the opportunities of others plentiful.



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This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
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