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The Customer Trap: How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake in Business by Andrew R. Thomas, Timothy J. Wilkinson

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CHAPTER 7

Innovation’s Second Step

Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.

—Phaedrus, Roman poet

According to the textbooks, sales and distribution should be approached from the perspective of customer needs.1 An individual or company simply wants the product to be available at a certain time and place, in the correct quantity and at the right price.2 While unassailable from the customer’s point of view, this perspective ignores the interests of innovating companies, which often conflict with those of the customer, particularly as innovators move through the vulnerable scaling-up process and the “customer” becomes more than 10 percent of total ...

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