Strategy vs Execution analogy- a door

Opening a door can be thought of as a fractal representation of strategy: Company strategy > Product strategy > Execution

Let’s say your startup’s mission is to automatically open doors for people. It all started when your cofounder was a child and they couldn’t open doors on their own. The injustice still sticks with them to this day. They dream of a day when we can all have doors opened for us automatically, saving us countless hours over the course of lifetimes that would have been spent opening doors, inventing cures for cancer, faster-than-light spacedrives, and other startups to solve menial tasks

You can go about this in a bunch of ways:

Company strategy is all about how you (mostly executives, but hopefully with input from folks in the company) choose which path to follow

Within the broader Company strategy of opening doors, there is a fractal Product strategy for the teams

Let’s say that the executives choose to build technology, because that’s “the most scalable way”

This choice yields a Product strategy to a technology-forward door opening approach (which is a sentence I never thought I’d write):

The choice of how you decide to target your product to push at the part of the door farthest away from the hinge is an example of Product Strategy

Execution is how quickly you can prototype, test in the real world, and uncover mistakes and edge cases in your Product Strategy

Astute and imaginative readers may notice that I missed a couple of things above:

All of these questions are things that are un-answerable (or sometimes unknowable) at the Product or Company Strategy levels. However, as they come up, that should feed back into either refining the Strategy (or in certain cases, rethinking the Strategy). Execution is how quickly (in time and money investment) you can surface those questions, make a (on the balance, correct) decision on their importance, and either discard or incorporate those into your strategy

For example:

Astute readers may have seen this coming

The “1-way or 2-way door” framework helps, but is not sufficient, to help you make decisions. You have to decide which level you’re making the decision on: Strategy or Execution (we’ll save “Vision” for a later post)

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