Stop looking. Blue ocean is right underneath you.

I am a big fan of the blue Ocean Strategy and it’s methodologies.

As I try to apply it to discover unique value propositions of different businesses, I am realizing that the metaphor of “blue ocean” has a problem. It suggests that you have to set on a “long  journey into the unknown” in order to find non-competitive markets. Not always. Sometimes, blue ocean is right underneath you in the middle of the red ocean as the competition fights itself to death.

Conventional business school wisdom suggests offering value-cost trade-offs through product-line extension. That approach has created so much clutter and craziness in the marketplace. BOS approach suggests otherwise. It says: Break the value-cost trade-off. I feel that in some industries (like appliances) that is all you have to do: simplify the damn product line.

Apple is the obvious example (sorry, seems like we don’t have much else to talk about now-a-days). Motorola, Sony, Blackberry, even HTC are still looking at their versions of the consumer perception maps and treating it as a battle ground. They are too busy playing the game of positioning new product offerings to cover gaps in the market. You know what? That’s the deadly red ocean right there. Stop the craziness. Consumer is pissed off.

You know how hard it is to find a washer, or for that matter, a toothbrush. Now, I understand the problem that CPG brands  but for high-involvement products like appliances, I think someone just has to go for it. Eliminate all models. design one washer that does everything but has one button on it, like an iPod. I know, it only takes courage to break the fixed cost structure and convince people who would think you are crazy – a classic blue ocean hurdle.