Product differentiation, by itself, has become indefensible because today’s competitors can copy your better, faster, cheaper features virtually instantly. Now, the only thing they can’t replicate is the trust that customers feel for you and your team. Ultimately, that’s born not of a self-centered mission statement like “We want to be best-in-class X” or “to disrupt Y,” but of a culture whose beating heart is a strategic story that casts your customer as the world-changing hero.
Data is important, but I was wrong in viewing objectivity and subjectivity as mutually exclusive, especially as it relates to social issues. In the talk, I shared statistics that could have benefitted from historical and social context, such as longer terms served and disproportionate arrest rates faced by people of color. I intended to shed light on injustice with data, but what manifested was a conflation of the bias that people of color face as it relates to incarceration without suitable context and nuance. Data can be misleading, and I have an obligation to ensure all data has the appropriate context. The next version needs an appropriate level of analysis so that readers know how to interpret the data. This has to come from experts who understand the context beyond what I can research on my own. Dropping data and letting the reader play detective can cause more harm than good.