Logan Dunn

What is my blue ocean strategy?

Red vs. Blue Oceans

Coming into the Marriott School I was surprised to find out my fellow classmates knew much less than I imagined about Web marketing.  When I think about the hours and hours that I have put in on the subject I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised: Let’s see, I worked on average 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, and 50 weeks per year for 3 years. That comes to 6,000 hours. According to Anders Ericsson’s 10,000 hour rule (made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers), I am about 3/5 of the way to becoming a master on the subject. To be fair, during those 6,000+ hours at work I wasn’t just working on internet marketing and development, but I did do a lot of work on the side, putting me thousands of hours ahead of my classmates. After learning about blue vs. red ocean strategies in my strategy class, my mind immediately went to my knowledge of the Web as a potential blue ocean strategy.

 

What is this blue vs. red ocean thing?

The idea of blue and red oceans comes from the book “Blue Ocean Strategy,” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne (who also wrote a summary of their book in HBR).Kim and Mauborgne created this idea in contest to Michael Porter’s “Five Forces,” thus the idea of blue oceans is for industry-level strategy. Basically, Kim and Mauborgne recommend that you stop competing in overcrowded industries, or red oceans, where it is a constant battle to outperform your rivals to get a bigger piece of the pie and higher profits. These red oceans will continue to fill with competitors, turing the water bloody. Instead Kim and Mauborgne recommend that you create a blue ocean, or an uncontested marketplace (or at least less-contested). “In blue oceans, you invent and capture new demand, and you offer customers a leap in value while also streamlining your costs.” To illustrate this, the authors use the example of Cirque du Soleil:

Value-innovation-Cirque-du-Soleil

From ityphoon.org

 

 

My blue ocean

So how does this strategy apply to me personally? Well, as Kim and Mauborgne highlight, the core of a blue ocean strategy is value innovation—creating differentiation from others.  I need to lower costs, or get rid of certain things that may be very costly to develop and maintain, while at the same time increase value to my buyers, or develop skills those key stakeholders in my life, such as the company I will work for and my family, will find beneficial.

As I mentioned above, I believe this is found in leveraging my understating of Web development and online marketing and combining that with an advanced understanding of business. That combination seems to be just technical and differentiated enough to be an area where few play.

blue_ocean_1

My blue ocean strategy

 

This blue ocean opens up options for me to be an online product manager, a role where I can leverage my development skills to “speak the language” of the programmers and at the same time leverage my business skills to strategically direct my product to success.

 

Another possible blue ocean

Having served a two-year LDS mission to Caracas, Venezuela, I believe I can use my Spanish language fluency to create another potential blue ocean. I can combine my language/culture skills with my blue ocean strategy mentioned above to further differentiate myself from others.

blue_ocean_2

 

 

Resources to strengthen this strategy:

I would say that I am far from proficient in this area, and a full-fledged Web developer who goes back to get an MBA will be able to pass/match me in many instances. My true blue ocean comes by excelling in both business and Web development. I need to be strong in business strategy and a very capable developer. To help me achieve this I have found a host of resources I can use to further develop myself.

To learn how to be a developer: Code Academy / Treehouse / Lynda.com

To stay sharp on the latest industry trends:

 

What are my goals to effectively carry out my blue ocean strategy?

I need to stay up-to-date on industry trends, and learn how to be a better developer. I also need to stay fresh on my Spanish and improve my business vocabulary. To do this I am going to take a business spanish class and look for opportunities to practice.

Goal:

  • Improve development skills through above resources
    • Study Code Academy 1hr per week during school (Saturday morning)
    • During summer study code academy for 1hr per day
    • During internship continue weekly study at rate that works with internship (at least 1hr)
  • Take business Spanish class next year
  • Read 3x business development articles per week