TBT – Thursday Business Tip (Creating an Ecosystem)

Entry #1 Creating an Ecosystem

Many of you are unaware that I run several businesses.  I even run a business based website all about business.  I’ve decided that a lot of the articles that I post over there are beneficial for my fans in the entertainment world as well.  I’ve realized that this would be beneficial to share with you guys too, so I’m going to start posting a TBT article once a week, every Thursday, to help you guys start thinking ahead a bit.  To see this week’s tip on creating an ecosystem, read on after the jump.

Building an ecosystem is essential to building your brand residually.  There are some things that would serve you well as an entrepreneur that I find most people tend to ignore when starting off.  It’s such a simple concept, you would think more folks would use it.  And here’s the kicker; you see the top companies in the world do this everyday with their brands.  Today we will have an in depth discussion about building an ecosystem.  This is something made popular by Apple, and you will see and hear me often discuss Apple in this blog, because I model my own business practices after them.

Love them or hate them, they have changed the way we do business, the way we live, and the way we even think about products, branding, technology, and even our future.  They have positioned themselves as a necessity in any successful modern business, and it is the same thing that you should be trying to do with your own brand  It all comes down to the stickiness of your ecosystem.

But how were they able to do this?  How were they able to get you to go from buying an iPod, to an iPhone, to an iPad, to an iMac, and more than likely sometime before the end of this year, to an iWatch?  The technique is so simple, it’s almost jarring.  They gently “nudge” you, into their ecosystem.  Note that every time that you purchase any one of their products, that product is 100% integratable with any other Apple product you choose to purchase.  Apple does this by design, and in fact, Steve Jobs was extremely meticulous about this requirement of all things Apple.  Steve Jobs had a lot of philosophies, and what was so fantastic about them is that most of them you never even had to hear him say, you could simply see these philosophies via his brand.

You should really take the time to think about this ecosystem tactic when you start looking at developing your brand.  Samsung, Microsoft, and others are only now understanding these philosophies that Apple has been living off of, and they still don’t fully understand them.  This is why you see the Apple store spreading like a virus, while the Microsoft brick and mortar store, the Sony store, and so on and so forth, can’t really gain a footing or traction in that space.  It’s because they are cheap imitations of the Apple store.  If they really want to make that work for themselves, they will eventually have to realize that it is about 100% integration  It all comes down to the lack of stickiness within their ecosystems.  They cannot simply put up a store and sell their products…they have to live and breathe their products.  Prove to the masses that their products are worth it.

And therein lies the problem, and possibly the reason they will never be able to truly compete with Apple; they do not respect themselves or love themselves the way Apple does.  Apple views itself the same way Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, and TAG Hauer view themselves; as luxury brands.  They are devilishly meticulous in every little detail, and do things no other company will do in order to arrive at a holy grail of sorts, every single time they introduce a product.   This self expectation, or, standard, for themselves keeps their brand at the peek, and will continue to do so.  Each product created by Apple demands to be integrated into the ecosystem they have offered you to create.

Are you delivering a holy grail within your products?  Is it the must have product?  Are you producing content that everyone should view?  I wouldn’t care if you were a shitty gossip rag discussing celebrity lifestyles and whatnot…if you are going to do that…do it better than anyone else.   Be the luxury gossip rag Make your product the must have product, not because of how you spin it, and not because of just getting it out there, but because of it’s quality.  Because of the high standards of the content.  Make your product the must have product, because it actually is.  

And then repeat this process every time you provide something new.  Make sure it directly ties in with your previous products, information, books, etc…the ecosystem.  There is an audience for everything.  I don’t care what it is you come up with, there is an audience in existence somewhere for that thing.  People thirst.  We are all thirsty for something.  Wether it is knowledge, education, new practices, unique schools of thought, products…we all thirst for something.  You are not the first person to think of whatever it is you think of, but you can be the first one to provide a platform for others to find each other and think about it together.  

I hope this is starting to make a little sense to you.  Develop products that make sense to your audience.  Develop products that bring value to your audience.  Develop products that you can stand behind 100% and say “I did this.  And it’s the best I could do”.  Do these things, and your audience will follow you to the ends of the world.



Michael Simpson Jr aka The Residual Entrepreneur