View    arrow

How to Not Execute Guerrilla Warfare


By Kevin Wang


There were two dimensions to the decision to withdraw. First, Company management and the engineering team lost confidence in their ability to clean up their messes. As the crises intensified the Company learned that a team of engineers from one of the big competitors were striking out on their own to develop "revolutionary" RF analyzer technology. Company management approached the competitor technical team, hired them, and decided to regroup with a new, technology-based, RF analyzer product strategy.


Nine months later the Company launched the first product resulting from the new RF analyzer product strategy - a signal generator that put us in competition with our former partner. Six months after that the Company shipped its new signal analyzer and control software package. More damaging than the long, phased delivery of the new technology, the Company failed to revisit competitive market strategy and evaluate target segments. These new RF products were taken back into the same China domestic cell phone provider accounts. Unfortunately, our first generation product disaster had highlighted this new market opportunity to our two major competitors and, by now, they had already penetrated the domestic customers. At this point panic set in. The Company began encouraging sales to call on all customers, worldwide. Our Guerrilla Warfare focus was gone, and there was no alternative market strategy in its place.


Lessons Learned
The Company's whole product problems - we had made the hardware, software, and even partnering investments in our initial product strategy, but we had completely under-invested in quality, knowledge development, partner coordination, and technical support - made it harder and harder to stick to our focused market attack strategy. As product development investments piled up over nearly 4 years into the 10's of millions and large orders from targeted accounts failed to materialize, Company management felt they had to approach as many customers as possible.