A tip on grand strategy

Boyd insisted that one of the primary functions of grand strategy was to “attract the uncommitted to your cause.” If we take the prudent path and assume that all our current and potential customers are uncommitted, then as far as business goes, strategy and grand strategy are the same thing. One of the many ways that business isn’t war.

People buy from you for many reasons, and one of these is because they want to. People refuse to go anywhere near you for many reasons, and one of these is they don’t like you. So we get fanboys on the one hand and boycotts on the other.

Why, then, do some businesses alienate their own customers, giving them, as it were, reasons not to like them? How do you win that one? Here’s a neat example, “The perils of shaming bad tippers,” by Mario Castillo on LinkedIn. I think behavior like this may often result from an internal focus, maybe tough guy politics within the organization.

Of course, if you’re a monopoly, as Peter Thiel lauds over at the Wall St. J. (paywall), treat your customers any way you damn well please.

 

4 thoughts on “A tip on grand strategy

  1. “People buy from you for many reasons, and one of these is because they want to.”
    Another reason might be because they need to. As you say, if they need to, you may treat your customers any way you damn well please.
    On the other hand, if they buy your product because they want to, you don’t need a military to maintain any-way-you-damn-well-please.

  2. “if they need to, you may treat your customers any way you damn well please.”

    The exact model for the world wide Oil industry.

  3. I think the important word in maximilliangc’s reply is “need”. In a consumer economy, customer and consumer isn’t exactly the same. Consumer implies action–customer is potential. They are both at opposite “ends” (ends, ways, means) of the OODA loop.
    With effort, one can Observe the customer, but, with the proper targeting, one can enter the consumer’s OODA loop and act, if you have the proper advantage (buyer beware).

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