Tips on succeeding in digital services

Joseph Waring

Continued from part 1

In the second piece of a two-part article, Nicholas Wodtke, VP of content and services at Samsung, shares his insight from 15 years in the business on how to win in the digital ecosystem.

Flexibility is key, so companies must be able to pivot quickly. He says he doesn't think he’s ever started a company or built a product that turned out the way he wanted it. “It never does. You start off on a journey, you take one step, you see something, you move over here. And if you pivot, you will eventually solve the problem.”

First establish your core vision. “But to get there, you won’t walk a straight line. If your think you're going to walk a straight line, you’re wrong. So keep the vision, but be prepared to zig and zag as you move, because you're going to find out guess what, people don't want a la carte, or by the way, the music companies don't like downloads because they think there’s no DRM.”

He insists that firms must compete on execution, not on IP. “I get asked all the time, “so what’s the IP, what’s the secret sauce?’ I have yet to see a company that’s succeeded on having defensible IP. Nine times out of ten, businesses succeed because they execute better than their competitors.”

The board will ask you to explain how your digital product is defensible. “Guess what, anyone can do it. Anybody can do what Facebook is doing, anybody can do what Youtube is doing. So it’s all about execution nowadays and don't get into that trap, thinking you have to get your IP portfolio to create some sort of defensible position for yourself. Compete on execution, that’s going to be the differentiator.”

Wodtke challenges companies to find people with a point of view. “This is the most important point I’ll make. So many people don't have a point of view, so if you find someone in your company who has a point of view, really take care of that person. They’re really hard to find.

“Everyone is like ‘I went to a couple conferences and I know this and I think this is going on and by the way I read the Economist’. That’s not a point of view, that's basically someone who collects data that everyone else has. A point of view is someone who really has a perspective on something.”

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