Dynamism 2021-02-12 15:43:30

This post was inspired by case studies in The Wide Lens: What Successful Innovators See That Others Miss by Ron Adner (Amazon link).

Sony’s eReader launch in 2006 encountered several unplanned-for road blocks: publishers didn’t have an infrastructure in place to support ebook commerce, there were unprecedented legal concerns around digital rights management (DRM), and not all publishers felt comfortable taking on the inherent risk of entering a new and untested market. The totality of these issues represented an insurmountable inertia that eventually lead to Sony pulling out of the eBook/eReader market entirely.

About 1 year later, Amazon introduced its Kindle device which is still flourishing to this day. Some things that Amazon did to ensure a more prosperous trajectory included: leveraging its platform to provide the infrastructure publishers needed, reducing legal concerns around DRM by making the Kindle proprietary, and making initial entry into the digital publishing market more palatable by taking a loss on every eBook sale (a tried and true growth strategy for multiple Amazon services). Entirely unlike the tale of Sony’s eReader, Amazon was able to clear the way for market success when they committed the all-hands-on-deck effort to address sources of inertia before introducing the Kindle.

Identifying solvable problems and designing solutions are undoubtedly essential activities for making things better. But there’s another element essential for delivering a market-ready solution that is sometimes left by the wayside: dynamism — the habitual mode of reducing or eliminating tension across the board.

Dynamism happens when there is recognition that the widget or platform is only half the innovationthe other half involves recognizing that there is a user of the solution who requires certain conditions before they’re ready to adopt and deploying a concerted effort to make these conditions possible.

Anticipating inertia, and generously and proactively solving for it is what made the difference between Sony’s ill-fated foray and Amazon’s subsequent rise to eBook/eReader market dominance.

William Liao

Wonderful arguments Building in slack
Nice! I think that the Half and Half phrasing can lead astray though because it makes it seem like the demand-side and supply-side can simply be split up 50/50 when it's actually this viscerally entangled effort where whenever a realization in the demand-side evolves it affects teh supply-side immediately almost like a jenga tower.

This is not a book recommendation because you have already a long reading list lol but The Everything Store by Brad Stone spends a lot of time on Amazon's foray into Kindle. It wasn't such a clean and user satisfying story though. It was a ruthless battle where a lot of publishers actually felt coerced.

Note: I'm not taking sides when i say ruthless and mentioning how the users (publishers/bookstores) weren't satisfied. I'm just talking about how the Kindle wasn't just about gentle and great product development and everybody shaking hands with smiles. There was a lot of cornering incumbents into feeling like they have no choice and likewise incumbents staking their ground trying to die on their sword where it lay now.

Fascinating story though.
might enjoy it too.

2021-02-13 18:15:06
 really interesting points here and I probably should check out The Everything Store to get the full picture haha. Lately I've been writing things through a very hopeful lens which may do a disservice in some cases to the true complexity of certain situations I make reference to. I value making statements about the future and how to react now with an optimistic tone but I don't want to get to the point where the things I am writing begin to sound like vacant platitudes. 
2021-02-13 21:31:09
Ha far from the full picture but still one of the richest pictures you can get in the open market (books).

I understand the line you are riding. I also want to highlight that I don't mean to say that the surge in ebooks and Kindle is bad. It's jsut a thing that has happened is happening.
2021-02-13 22:23:51
I read The Everything Store several years ago. For some reason, I don't remember the details of the Kindle development.
2021-02-14 00:18:41