May 1, 2023

Specialist vs Generalist

This week on TBOA, Rochelle and I untangle the strands of specializing and generalizing so you can decide what mix will work best for you.


Talking Points

The two ways you can decide to be a specialist or a generalist.

A four quadrant approach to choosing where you want to take your business on the generalist to specialist continuum.

How to make a generalist skill set work in a hyper-differentiated market place.

Why experimenting between the quadrants will lead you to your ideal balance between specializing and generalizing.

Quotable Quotes

“In the etch-a-sketch metaphor, there are two knobs you can dial. One would be ‘who you help,’ and the other is “what you do.’”—JS

“Is there a market for this? And how big is that market?”—RM

“The lower left quadrant is a rough place because that’s where you have downward pricing pressure. You’re commoditized.”—JS

“If you just pick one of these two axes, I think most people know right away which feels better.”—RM

“If you really want to be a generalist in your skills, I’d say okay, but be specific about who you help.”—JS

“This can be an experiment, but even if it doesn’t work, what do you learn from that experiment? Well, you learn what you didn’t like, so how do you get closer to what you DO want?”—RM

“You create a moat around yourself that very few competitors will be able to cross.”—JS

“You can think about ‘Which quadrant am I in?’ And is it the right quadrant for me and for my business? “—RM

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