Lisa Barone vs the Peanut Butter Manifesto
In Bad Advice Yelled Loudly Is Still Bad Advice Lisa Barone took on Forrester and AdAge’s call for most businesses to wait before spending resources on FourSquare and its competitors:
“I’m not going to lie, it seems absolutely ridiculous to me that anyone in this space would advise marketers take a “sit and wait” approach to any new marketing application.”
A few years ago Yahoo!’s Brad Garlinghouse penned the Peanut Butter Manifesto, nicely captured and decoded by Kara Swisher. Here’s its essence:
“We want to do everything and be everything–to everyone. … We are scared to be left out … I’ve heard our strategy described as spreading peanut butter across the myriad opportunities that continue to evolve in the online world. The result: a thin layer of investment spread across everything we do and thus we focus on nothing in particular.”
When I was 24 I completely shared Lisa’s optimism and enthusiasm to just do it, and her disdain of those who took a wait and see attitude. I’ve changed sides. I more regret the things that we did that we shouldn’t have than the potential opportunities that we let pass by. Because success requires focus and focus requires saying No to all but the best opportunities.
Many people find my view stodgy and depressing. Maybe the 24 year old me would have killed himself if he knew what he would become.
People admire action more than restraint. Many Met fans hate Carlos Beltran not because he struck out, but because he struck out looking. Managers call for bunts and hit & run plays because they’d rather hurt their teams by acting than help them with restraint. OK, that’s not quite right. They lack the discipline and humility to understand how often restraint is the right move.
Restraint is difficult, underrated, and unappreciated. Master it anyway.
Where do you stand? With Lisa? Or with peanut butter?
August 4, 2010 @ 3:36 pm
The Peantubutter Manifesto wasn't all that inside of Yahoo! at the time. 🙂
That said, I must say that I stand in-between these two extremes – it's important to focus on what's critical first, but there is danger in _premature_ optimization of ideas. Make sure you dedicate the resources to understand the opportunity before pruning it off the roadmap. The quickest route is often wrong one.
I must say, I was wondering how her article would have read substituting the “Second Life land rush” for Twitter in her examples…
August 4, 2010 @ 4:25 pm
I'm sure it wasn't. And I linked to Kara Swisher's take on it, which is none too kind. But the concept stands.
I accept your point, you need to be somewhat creative and open minded about understanding new opportunities. As long as you can then cut off all but the best ones.