Your Company, Version 4.13

The software world enjoys many gifts. Smart people. Lots of capital. High leverage. But one that should probably be celebrated more… the idea of “versions”. That’s’ right, versions.

Software companies are in a constant state of reinvention. As soon as one version of their product is out, they start imagining the next. The goal each time is to literally put the previous version of themselves out of business. With each new release.

The process goes something like this: after launching one version, they begin gathering insight and feedback from customers, vendors, the media, team members, and pretty much everyone that will share it. Software companies tune-in to these audiences. They also begin aggressive brainstorm sessions that explore the boundaries of what could be. They aren’t afraid to dance with the unknown. They know full well that they can’t launch a product and then sit back and collect royalties for the next twenty years. They need a constant fire in the belly to conquer the next, next thing.

Isn’t it funny that so many other business do exactly the opposite? Most companies spend their days milking the models of the past rather than reaching for a new future. With intense pressures of commoditization, increased speed, and decreased barriers how is it even possible that most business time is primarily consumed with protecting the golden goose?

Here’s a thought… think like a software company and launch your next version. What if you had to bring a whole new set of competitive advantages to market? New value to customers. Better features. A faster supply chain. Something that would be as remarkable and engaging as the original product that launched your company in the first place.

Your life insurance company, version 3.1. Your cabinet maker shop, version 2.0. Your consumer goods manufacturer, version 5.2. Maybe if other industries embraced the practice of reinventing new versions of themselves on a regular basis, they would enjoy some of the other benefits that software companies have: great people, huge valuations, fully engaged cultures, deeply loyal customers, etc.

So this week… get your team together, close your eyes, and imagine: Your Business, Version 4.13.