That is underscored with Google's announcement that it is killing Google Answers. This, apparently, was an experiment that didn't work as hoped.
So what is the lesson here? Today, experimentation is ok. Especially when, like Google, you have an established track record of succeeding often enough. This is a good thing. Because, with experimentation comes innovation.
But, we contend that it's important to understand the parameters of where you can experiment and where you need to look solid, decisive, and consistent. This is particularly true with young, untested companies that need to enter the market and gain credibility. Following are some guidelines that we have established over time:
- Before you proactively introduce yourself to the market, have a pretty good idea of who you are and where you believe you are going. (We have referenced a "communications architecture" elsewhere in this blog.)
- Educate, don't hype. Help the market understand your vision and its direction rather than just your products and their specs.
- Experiment if you can demonstrate consistency and decisiveness as the experiment refines.
- Always be professional: even if things might change (well, that's a certainty), having presence and an air of dependability can go a long way.
And then, once you have done the thinking, move ahead.