1. Thou shalt not screw thine early adopters. They made thou what thou art, even showing patience with thine inattention to upward compatibility. Yea, though they paid high early prices, thou hast refused them free upgrades. Now as they glance at their boxes of obsolete connectors, power sources, software and disk drives, they plan to make their next purchases from thine upstart competitor.
2. Thou shalt not pitch proprietary platforms. Thy customers are hip to digital convergence. They are aware of platform-independent software, and yea, know moreover that any information product can be a platform for any other. Suffereth not thine user to wonder why this app won’t work on that phone, or this phone on that network.
Thy heavy users, world travelers, live “glocal”; they cry, “Roaming charges, my ass!” and “Make thy smart phone a flexible global platform for local apps!” The world is flat, and it is not flat. Surf it.3. Thou shalt use patents as incentives to innovate – not as tradable securities nor as reserve ammunition for counter-suits.
4. Thou shalt not sue thy customers, without darn good reason. Sony sued a little old Filipina lady of the same name, who ran a hole-in-the-wall Baltimore restaurant called “Sony’s.” Samsung now eats Sony’s lunch, ha ha. Apple is going after a Polish start-up that cleverly leveraged its country’s top-level domain to name itself a.pl. We now read news of Apple’s decline. Suing instead of innovating: Graspeth thou the lesson here?
5. Thou shalt not encase thy products in packaging that is well-nigh bulletproof, exposing thy customers to risk of serious injury when they try to open it.
6. Thou shalt not aim for market dominance at the expense of customer service. Amazon. Cable companies. Dell. Thy clued-in clients recognize a company run for its investors rather than for its customers. Currently powerless to stop you, they hoard and cherish their resentment against the day of their revenge. Canst thou say, “Seeds of mine own destruction”?
Even as thou striveth to control the bottleneck in the value chain, knowest thou that the bottleneck moves and changes faster than thy customers. In the long run, catching and keeping customers is cheaper and of greater worth than chasing necks of bottles.7. Thou shalt not charge more for “ordinary ground shipping” than the price of the item being shipped.
8. Thou shalt not be co-opted by totalitarian governments, nor even authoritarian ones. Giving spy agencies back-doors into your cookies, blocking and censoring for ruling-party political advantage, turning over the records of customers who expected privacy, for shame. In a particular criminal case with a warrant from a legitimate court, maybe. Otherwise, no.
9. Be ever ready to change thy business model. Thou recording-industry exec fighting a desperate rear-guard action, thou art as the dinosaur, ridiculed by thy customers, and incompetent to meet the new business environment on survivable terms.
10. Clean thine own messes. Thy mother told thee this. Get green or get gone.