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Killer Applications

Great surfers do not ride every wave.  They don’t even ride every good wave.  They have developed the instinct to know which waves are the “killer” waves and they have the patience to wait for them.

So, what is a Killer Application? 

In a business context, a Killer Application is a overachieving demand-driver.  It is an overachiever in the sense that in that it grows both faster than the market and faster than other applications for that given product.  A classic example of a killer application is the Tom-Tom GPS navigation system.  Sales for PDA’s were lagging for a while until Tom-Tom arrived on the market.  This application then drove the demand for PDA’s.

There are a great many examples of killer applications that grew out of the RoHS / WEEE initiatives.  The requirement to deliver lead-free electronics and plastics free of hazardous materials drove a boom in demand for numerous instruments whose job it is to detect such materials.  I was directly involved with one such instrument and experienced first hand the wild ride of this boom.

This concept applies directly to business development.  If you run after every application, and do not have some competitive advantage other than price-dumping, chances are, you will grow at about the same rate as the market in the long term.  A price war is one way to take market share away from your competitors in the short term, but in the long term, nobody is very satisfied with the whole adventure.  A price war not only squeezes margins, but it often takes value out of the market; value which never returns.  Squeezed margins reduces the resources needed to develop the next generation product.  And once that product is out of the development pipeline, it lands in a market that isn’t as sexy as it once was because the price levels have crashed.

If you concentrate on the “killer applications”, however, the ones growing faster than the market, you will grow faster than the market also.  It is possible to set up an early warning system to continuously scan for such applications.  This will enable you to address them before anyone else does.

I can set up such a radar system for you.  Then, together we can use it to find you these killer applications.

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