If we watch a guitarist at work, a decent musician might identify a few chords in a crowd pleasing solo, but putting a whole piece together in a performance may be daunting to imitate.
Watching an entrepreneur put the pieces together for a business that connects with a market and takes off may have components that others can copy or steal. But the entire integrated experience may be altogether irreducible.
The irreducible nature of what we experience puts it out of reach of the inevitable copycats. It makes it special. There’s a reason other companies just can’t seem to put all the components together that Apple magically presents in their product and buyer experience.
The irreducible nature of how Google makes complex technology simple or how your favorite restaurant creates that irresistible taste puts it in a category of its own in your mind and heart.
How Do You Build Your Own Uniqueness?
When it comes to your craft, being mediocre is business death. You might pick up some scraps in a large market that is not consolidated, but there has to be some differentiation that makes you incomparable.
I think it takes getting in the trenches and committing to a process of continual innovation. Watching your customers and how they interact with your product, brand and service has to be just as much of a priority as delivering on your promise.
I like to continually observe and think about how I can bring a little more pleasure or value. If you keep pursuing this train of thought while guarding against unnecessary embroidery, then it becomes harder to choose another option besides yours.
This also may mean looking at how to make something simpler and easier. This is innovation as well. Your job along the way is to keep things cohesive and shaped around an integrated vision. Everything has to work together.
Make it hard for someone just to do one thing that you do. Create interdependencies and flow in your processes.
Today, more than ever, being irreducible not only protects your value but it builds the fan base you desperately need to stand out.