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John Dodds

I take your point about the importance of leverage and learning, but can't help but think that the prize of occupying the hub will lead to closed systems and defensive barriers to entry. What am I missing?


Not too much to comment here since you covered things very well!

Just important to reinforce Ron Burt's notion of 'brokering' to make and maintain social capital as an unfair advantage and to propel strategy.


Also, discovery of influence points is often not obvious and counter-intuitive. Expect some frog-kissing to find your princes. Pursue conceptual blending, particularly with customers and prospects, to reveal the absent/weak ties of potent influence points.


Professor Ron Burt has done some similar work in the area of influence points.


Your observation of the power law of connections extends on some things he researched. A favorite observation of mine that he made was this:

"People connected to groups beyond their own can expect to find themselves delivering valuable ideas, seeming to be gifted with creativity. This is not creativity born of genius; it is creativity as an import‐export business. An idea mundane in one group can be a valuable insight in another."

Kevin Horgan


Wonderful. Your "influence points" remind me of Andy Grove's "strategic inflection points". Perhaps your "influence points" are a derivative of Andy's. You are helping craft an intellectual architecture of strategy to frame our endeavors.



Absolutely loved this post, John.

One thing I would add to the list of problems with structural advantage is a changing buyer preference for what kind of structural component is important to them. If your advantage doesn't matter you can get blind sighted as you remain in execution mode on that treadmill.

The next wave as you beautifully articulate will be about influence points that i believe will come from a network-first mind set. It no co-incidence that over the last 10 years the shopping cart icon on Amazon is slowly receding to the back ground and the network of influencers (past buyers) is taking center stage.

On the software side, the advent of one-size-fits-all cloud/saas computing has taken away many real and perceived advantages from technology leverage. Capabilities are now normalized across industries. We're now entering the next wave of cloud based computing that will focus less on transactional capabilities but on tying together expert networks first, then surrounding them with just the needed dose of transactional capability. In other words, either ownership or early access to influence points take precedence as this is a far more sustainable competitive advantage (if there ever was one.)

I hate seeding fear and doubt but to some extent there is a race to see who first captures the mind share of these influence points. Theres only so much attention out there thats up for grabs.

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