Utility Beats Content

7 utility beats content

Creating great content – for any platform – is really, really hard. If you want to do it right, you’ve got to invest a ton of money and time into it, and not in ways that companies are used to investing their money. Because in almost every category you’re going up against thousands and thousands of people that have a big head start on you, and no amount of advertising can make bad content work on the internet.

I’d argue that it’s a better idea to build true digital utility than to chase success in the content space. It’s not just better because you can capture essentially free and unlimited rights to whatever content and interactions are fostered by your utility, but also because it’s just plain easier. And by easier I mean cheaper and more likely to succeed.

What would you rather buy?

  1. The iPhone ($500MM R&D budget in 2006)
  2. House of Cards ($100MM production cost)
  3. John Carter ($250MM budget)

And don’t get me wrong. Content is great. It’s worth doing well. But I’d rather own the utility that the content lives on than just own the capability to produce it effectively.

Principles for Digital Strategy

  1. Victory is Proximity + Speed
  2. Cultures Can Flow
  3. Be Thrifty as F*ck
  4. Build For Yourself
  5. Open a Messy Kitchen
  6. Care
  7. Utility Beats Content


2 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. MHB,

    This idea also works well with Clayton Christensen’s ‘Jobs To Be Done’ theory.

  2. Matt,

    Utility beats content, but it’s so much harder. The chances that your utility will gain traction is far more unlikely than your content going viral. I suppose it’s risk vs. reward?

    Utility is level 10 black belt shit. Get some content reps in and then use the existing infrastructure to pivot into utility.