No @zappos Best Practices Don’t Stifle Innovation…

One of the problems with Twitter is that it encourages trite overly-simplistic statements of fact. Hey, here is one from Tony (@zappos) the CEO of Zappos:

I’m only posting about this because it has been re-tweeted like a bazillion times in the last 3 hours by twitterati proclaiming it’s complete and utter truth. And I’ll grant you, it sounds good… but it isn’t true.

Best practices are a good thing. They let you implement known quantities, limit risk, limit costs and establish a baseline of capability without wasting precious cycle re-inventing the wheel. That doesn’t stifle innovation, it increases margins, lowers costs and saves time.

Can it stifle innovation? Sure, but so can just about anything when you do it wrong. 

The point here is that you have to decide what it is that differentiates your business – those things that are your competitive advantage. That is where you want to invest in innovation. Everyplace else – all those things that don’t differentiate you in the marketplace – are ripe for the application of best practices. 

What stifles innovation is the failure to be cognizant of where you differentiate and the failure to invest in innovation in those areas.

2 thoughts on “No @zappos Best Practices Don’t Stifle Innovation…

  1. Thank you, Brian! You're right, it did sound good, but I said to myself this morning, I need to put my finger on what's wrong with this. Thank you. Yes, being dogmatic stifles innovation. But you also need a baseline, and you also need to be 'cognizant of where you differentiate', not random. GAAP – why bother? Web standards – why leverage when we can reinvent? Three tiered architecture – you're kidding right? …but listen for opportunity…

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  2. Thank you, Brian! You're right, it did sound good, but I kept thinking to myself, I need to put my finger on what's wrong with this. Thank you. Yes, being dogmatic stifles innovation. But you also need a baseline, and you also need to be 'cognizant of where you differentiate', not random. GAAP – why bother? Web standards – why leverage when we can reinvent? Three tiered architecture – you're kidding right? …use best practices, but listen for real opportunities to differentiate in the market…

    Like

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