The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time by Jim McElvey

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Key Takeaways

  1. An innovation stack is at the core of the most successful companies of history. They solve problems that nobody has been able to solve before. It forces you to be creative even if you don’t want to be
  2. Words matter and in this case the author considers an entrepreneur somebody who is a crazy explorer. The perfect problem for the entrepreneur is one that can be solved but whose solution is not yet known
  3. It is difficult to get feedback so try to parse through where there could be feedback failure and what that means for your product or service.
  4. Making things a little bit difficult so the user really has to pay attention and struggle a little bit really helps damn remember and process what they’ve learned ( ikea effect)
  5. There is a subtle yet profound difference between having low prices and the lowest prices. Low means always giving value to the consumer whereas the west is always relative where are you always have to keep an eye out on the competition and what they’re doing. Your prices should arise out of your innovation stack. You should seek low prices in order to build customer trust, corporate alignment, and competitive advantage. Every company the author studied sought out low prices
  6. Disruption is an overused word today. The author found that the vast majority of successful companies brought new people into the market rather than simply stealing from the incumbents. The focus should be on building and not destroying. Copy when you can, but come up with new solutions when needed
  7. VC’s fund expansion, not exploration
  8. If you’re going to do something brand new, you will be afraid. You can’t get rid of this, but you can learn to effectively deal with it. There is no expertise for those who are truly innovative but these people share stubbornness and perseverance. They care deeply about the perfect problem they are solving for. When you solve a problem you care about, it brings you energy
  9. Business people survive by copying what already exists and do so successfully. We survive because we can replicate. This is natures solution to entropy
  10. Timing is everything m. Right feels early. It a critical component of your innovation stack doesn’t exist yet, work on other things until that step becomes feasible
  11. The world is a series of interdependent innovation stacks. When something new is presented, a whole new world of possibilities is unlocked
  12. You need to have every element in the stack for it to truly work. You can’t pick and choose and this is why copying a truly innovative company is quite hard l. Each element impacts every other element,/8 this quickly becomes an exercise in mathematics where the likelihood of copying 10 things correctly is really low
  13. History is the best place to learn about innovation stocks. These are the truly world changing companies
  14. Stay laser focused on your key customers and the innovation stack that serves them. This is much better than focusing on what the competition is doing
  15. Getting statistics on a market that doesn’t exist yet is difficult if not impossible. Remembered that invisible does not mean not interested
  16. Customers who trust you is more valuable than customers who love you.
  17. There are no answers for the new. We all start at square zero when trying to solve something that hasn’t been done before

What I got out of it

  1. Very helpful book to help frame different types of businesses, questions, answers, innovations. Creating interdependent, interlocking innovations makes you nearly impossible to compete with, especially when you are solving a problem that hasn't been solved before