The book www.blueoceanstrategy.com is amazingly sold 3.5 million copies, published in forty-four languages, and is a best seller across five continents.
My book Sharkonomics is not blue; instead it’s a Red Ocean Strategy. www.redoceanstrategy.com, owned by me, takes you to the landing page at www.Sharkonomics.com, and it could potentially do the same business. Sharkonomics hasn’t sold 3.5 million copies yet, but it has already been translated into Japanese and will soon swim out in more languages.
Blue water to red
Half a decade ago, Blue Ocean Strategy was released and became an international bestseller. W Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne’s book offered a “short-cut strategy” idea to making competition irrelevant. Instead of going head-to-head with competition and fighting a battle over market share in the bloody red ocean, companies should find new blue oceans where there is less competition.
It was an easy idea to sell, but much harder to make work in reality. Firstly, there is almost no blue ocean left to explore (or prey to feed on). Secondly, many corporations that find themselves in “blue oceans” are in fact out of their comfort zone, in the sense that they lack the skills and knowledge to take advantage of opportunities and end up making the wrong decisions.
Back in the days when there was time to innovate and develop a position slowly, the blue ocean idea could have worked. But today, in a transparent market, that kind of strategy will turn most corporations into shark food. Kim and Mauborgne based their book on a study of 150 strategic moves in 30 industries over a period of 100 years. Sharkonomics is based on sharks which have been around for more than 420 million years and made millions of strategic moves. Blue water has become red and it’s time to change strategy. Sharks don’t care what colour the water is when they attack and feed.
In red water, moving is not an option.