The “blah blah blah on steroids”

We often hear about new products that promise to beat the current market leader by being the “blah blah blah on steroids”

I’m not a big fan of this strategy

That doesn’t mean that the market leader isn’t vulnerable but it’s a question of the approach. 

Apple didn’t put a hurt on Microsoft desktop business by a better version of macos. They put the hurt by nailing a new category altogether with the iPad. 

By contrast Microsoft has adopted the “on steroid” strategy in many of their products. 

The Surface tablet is an attempt to be an “iPad on steroids”. It has a keyboard, it shipped with a pro and consumer model. It can do split screen. The list goes on. 

You know how well the Surface did. 

Google clearly felt threatened by Facebook so they tried to create a “Facebook on steroids” with google+ 

G+ launched with a sophisticated system to manage your contacts called Circles. The cognitive load was overwhelming. G+ came with as ton of other features like video conferencing, high res images and its arrivals cluttered up the rest of google web apps which had previously been light and pure. 

You know how google+ turned out so far. 

Over the years I’ve seen pitches for YouTube on steroids, Flickr on steroids, WordPress on steroids, yahoo shopping on steroids, google search on steroids and many many more. 

But here’s the thing. Steroids aren’t good for you. 

The best way to deal with YouTube is Vine and Snapchat. 

Flickr on steroids is a mistake. Instagram was the answer. 

WordPress on steroids. Nah, think Tumblr and Medium. 

Yahoo shopping on steroids. Nope, think about things like Storenvy. 

Google Search is vulnerable. Now more than ever. Try searching for a product review. It’s busted. The spammers and content farm won. But a google search on steroids isn’t the answer. A new approach is. 

Less is more is a powerful notion. But it’s deeper than that. Redefining an experience in a unique way is how you beat the market leader. 

And that’s when you put a dent in the universe.