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#41: Just as Companies Build Up Technical Debt, so too do They Build Up Narrative Debt - Kevin Kwok

Updated: Aug 16

I've been reading a lot about start-ups and product studios and came across Kevin Kwok's "How To Eat An Elephant, One Atomic Concept At A Time".


He thoughtfully takes apart how big incumbent's strengths can quickly become their weaknesses as Atomic Concepts quickly shift along with the use cases, required jobs-to-be-done of existing users as well as the proliferation of new, different users that see the product through a different lens.


All of which are accelerating and creating significant opportunities for super focused start-ups. Strongly encourage reading the post and here are a couple thought provoking quotes I really enjoyed:


  1. "As a founder, nobody is going to understand the full nuance of your company like you will. Everyone else does see a simplified, compressed, and sadly imperfect shadow of your company. Founders repeatedly underestimate the degree to which their products are complex and opaque to outsiders, because they have it fully loaded in cache."

  2. "As product becomes the driver of most interactions with a company, external gatekeepers and proselytizers like journalists and bankers become less important. Instead, it’s the clarity of a company’s product and product—and founder—driven distribution that become most key. We’re still early on in companies internalizing this."

  3. "Even for those companies with early success, many have yet to crisply define the atomic concepts they’re betting on and to position themselves accordingly. Which are competitors with which? Who are their customers and which use cases will be the most important workflows to build around? What factors will determine which companies succeed and centralize their markets?"

  4. "But the process of examining that complexity and finding the most lossless ways to dimensionality reduce is not the province of armchair analysts. It’s essential for founders and companies themselves to regularly do this refactoring. Just as companies build up technical debt, so too do they build up narrative debt."


February 7, 2021 (Tweet Link)

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