Mark Cuban has thrown the gauntlet down to see how far can you open a business development process with his ‘Open Stimulus Plan’. Post your business idea, all of it, for the world to see and he considers providing growth funding. All your competitors, potential and real, see your plans.
That’s right, everyone gets to see what you are planning to do. This takes open to a new level.
Cuban’s stated goal is to create kind of an ‘open stimulus plan’ encouraging not only the start-ups he funds but also competitors that will drive development faster and hopefully create more jobs and opportunities. He makes no promises to fund anybody, however, it is obvious that many believe he will to follow through on his investment idea (1,400 comments to date – many including business ideas).
This raises the question. How important are secrets in today’s economy?
–Intellectual capital leaks even if it meets the test of patentability.
–Relying on ‘always being smarter’ creates problems of scale.
–Secrets force you to confront customers with NDA’s and sometimes odious contract clauses.
Could your business survive a rather open planning process? Software vendors have had to deal with the idea of ‘Beta’ releases which confirm what their software will be doing months or sometimes years before they are ready to charge for their product. Would this concept actually strengthen your end product and customer relationships?
Cuban updated his open plan indicating he is moving forward with several companies. So, if one of the ideas he is pursuing is of interest to you – hop on the bandwagon, become a customer, recommend an improvement or … start up a competitor. Whatever you or Cuban do, I think the customer may end up being a winner here.
UPDATE 5/8/09: Daniel Goleman at the HBR Leading Green blog writes about ‘Radical Transparency’ in which consumers are able to find out everything about you (in this case in terms of Green issues) rapidly and easily. His assumption is that radical transparency is here to stay and that organizations better start learning to live with it and compete in that kind of ecosystem. In relation to Cuban’s open stimulus idea – what would your business plan and marketing plan look like if you knew competitors and customers would see it and understand it in real time? Kind of changes what you might focus on from a competitive advantage viewpoint, don’t you think?