Great Things Come to Those Who Innovate

The Rules Are…Don’t Follow Any

Michael Competielle
Oct 1, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Michael Competielle

We all have witnessed brilliant business ideas pop up into a void of an existing market,that successfully takes off and changes the status quo forever. A gap so wide and vacant you’ll question yourself on why you didn’t come up with the idea yourself. Like watching the instant replay of an amazing touchdown run and seeing that gap, as now visualizing how the running back saw an opportunity and made his move.

Did Blockbuster not see the coming of DVD services like Redbox and Netflix? They most certainly did however they stood there and watched as a small innovative concept…took over.

Not smart business. What did Blockbuster do wrong…they didn’t Look, Listen and Learn. Without looking at the then current DVD rental market and heading off the Netflix and Redbox growth, listening to their then current customer base and learning from the data, Blockbuster nailed it’s own coffin shut.

What about Borders books? With over 500 retail based brick and mortar superstores worldwide Borders had a decent market share. In the early 1990’s Borders had an edge on the industry by having a sophisticated inventory system that could predict and optimize consumer purchases. However with growing competition from Barnes and Noble brick and mortar, and online giant Amazon, Borders mounting debt and large wagering on merchandising of CD’s and DVD’s forced them into bankruptcy. Borders didn’t adapt to the moving trends of online sales, while they invested heavily into a market segment that was going digital.

Borders certainly didn’t Look, Listen or Learn to their customers or the industries innovations.



Working as Brand Designer for a startup experiential event and products company I’ve been tasked with the core projects of defining our brand, corporate culture, product design/ packaging and defining our target audience. Simple tasks complicated if you head into the quagmire of business development books and websites usually aimed at copying others.

Most of the content outdated or written on a generally broad topic without analysis of the only thing that really matters… the customer.

Recent business advice was to discuss anticipated costs, balance sheets and capital. Typical Wharton School of Business tactics to maximize sales and growth of what?

Of what I asked? We are still defining the targeted market that’ll fit into our brand, vision and values of what this company should be.

Looking at the assembled team of highly qualified team members of our startup, I felt it was imperative to understand why they signed on. Looking and listening to each individuals values on what environment they saw themselves coming to each day. Listening to how they hoped to interact with our future customers and who they visualized those customers to be.

We have a long way to go to build the brand, however by looking at the current state of our alleged competition, listening to our proposed clients and learning from the experience we’re developing what’s soon to be an innovative, lifestyle changing business.

With limited efforts placed on balance sheets and venture capital and all effort placed on defining our mission and culture, we are sure to change the lives of customers…. We shall Look, Listen and Learn

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