GTM Unleashed: Cannibalize or Be Eaten: The Game of Business Darwinism

Hold onto your hats, business moguls, because we’re about to serve a slice of audacious reality pie. Ever heard of the term “cannibalization”? No, it’s not about some creepy diet fad. It’s about evolution, baby. It’s about devouring your own products before someone else does.

One CEO client, in particular, let his CFO dominate the discussion regarding innovation and disruption, as the research was clear: one of their products was generating 80% of their contribution margin, but it had a rapidly diminishing shelf-life. They need to innovate or die. Guess which path the CEO abdicated the company’s future to? The company was acquired for a fire sale as the bottom fell out of their business, as the research had shown. A series of competitors entered their space, and within 6 months, it was too late. The train left the station with them scratching their collective heads on the platform. 

Now, before you cast me off as some business anarchist, let’s get one thing straight: Your beloved product, the one you think is your golden goose, is on borrowed time. That’s right. In this relentless business landscape, even the titans can tumble. Think about it. You’ve seen giants crushed under the wheels of innovation because they were too complacent and too arrogant to adapt.

So, what’s your cannibalization plan? It’s a proactive strategy, a radical acceptance that everything has an expiry date. It’s the audacious art of undermining your product by introducing something superior and more relevant. It’s a dangerous game, a high-stakes bet where you’re both the player and the played. But oh, the rewards!

Let me break it down for the old-schoolers, clutching their pearls and gasping in horror. Would you rather eat into your own market, innovating on your own terms, or let a hungry competitor gobble it up? The digital age is unforgiving, my friend. One misstep, one blind eye turned to innovation, and you’re history.

Here’s the clincher: cannibalization isn’t a sign of desperation; it’s a mark of foresight. It’s acknowledging the transient nature of success and being bold enough to dismantle and rebuild.

As the famous Steve Jobs once quipped: “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will.” So, here’s your menu. Will you serve yourself a plate of innovation or wait to be someone else’s main course? The clock’s ticking, and dinner’s about to be served.

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