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Revisiting David C. Baker’s ‘Drop and Give Me 20’ Exercise…

This post was published originally on my email blast!


I was going through my notes last night.

At the front of my notebook, I keep a list of 20 insights that I find myself sharing over and over in my strategy work. 

I came across this exercise from reading David C. Baker’s book The Business of Expertise.

In the book, David talks about an exercise called ‘Drop and Give Me 20’. David describes this as a way to test your expertise and positioning. 

In practice, you should have about 20 insights that will teach your listener something. That will give someone an “aha!” moment. 

So, this morning, I sat down and thought about the question again:

What do I know about strategy that will help executives and boards find profitable growth opportunities?

Here is my current thinking on the topic…and I will be curious to hear what you have to say. 

  1. No strategy is still a strategy, but it likely leads to chaos. 
  2. Strategy isn’t planning. 
  3. No action. No strategy. 
  4. Your opinion on what the market wants doesn’t matter. It is probably dangerous.
  5. The largest segment doesn’t mean the best segment.
  6. There is no skill in selling a half price iPhone. 
  7. Your salespeople are likely lying to you or are just wrong. 
  8. Tactics will change frequently. Your strategy should not. 
  9. Discounts destroy your brand. 
  10. Most businesses don’t know who their competition really is. 
  11. Your strategy isn’t a top down endeavor.
  12. First mover advantage is real, but it doesn’t last forever.
  13. Good strategies are all about power. 
  14. The customer defines value, you don’t.
  15. Targeting everyone usually means targeting no one. That doesn’t work. 
  16. Your positioning should exclude more people than it lets in. 
  17. There is no such thing as a generic sales funnel. 
  18. There are 3 levels to the product. 
  19. Open distribution isn’t for every product. 
  20. A great strategy doesn’t guarantee success. 
  21. Data is reactive. Research is proactive. 
  22. Innovation is about consistent improvement not just big bangs. 

Did you see something that made you go ‘Aha!’?

Let me know in the comments or by hitting reply. 

I’d also love to hear what your insights for your business are. 


BTW, here is a quick video about the topic.