What Heliocentrism can teach us about business

By | CYH

My elder son loves astronomy and I am forced to read books on this topic before he sleeps.

I was reminded of Copernicus, who was known to defy the convention and said the Earth revolves around the Sun (heliocentrism) instead of the other way round (geocentrism).

A little digging led me to realise that Aristarchus was the first to propose heliocentrism but his idea didn’t go far.

Copernicus also faced resistance from the Church before his theory became more accepted in society.

There’s an actual application of Copernican Revolution in business. That is, instead of the firm being the centre of every piece of decision making process, make the customer the centrepiece instead.

I could think of Eli Goldratt as the champion for the former. “So this is the goal: To make money by increasing net profit, while simultaneously increasing return on investment, and simultaneously increasing cash flow.”

And Jeff Bezos would be the champion of the new thinking, “The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be earth’s most customer-centric company.”

More business lessons we can learn from this:

  1. First mover doesn’t always have the advantage. The first sperm to reach the egg usually dies.
  2. Great ideas need to be sold, otherwise they won’t go far. You cannot build the best products and expect customers to find you. You need to market them and be easily found.
  3. Revolutionary ideas are always deemed dangerous by the establishment, even if it is the truth. If you are into disruption businesses, you better be prepared for a long fight. You need to find distribution faster than the incumbents find innovation.

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