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  • Hey, it's Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business

  • and life you love.

  • My guest today is a woman that I have admired for years, and if you've ever wondered how

  • you can create a product or a service or something in this world that truly stands out from the

  • crowd, this is the episode for you.

  • Renée Mauborgne is a professor of strategy at INSEAD, the world's second largest business

  • school.

  • She served on President Barack Obama's board of advisors on historically black colleges

  • and universities, is a fellow of the world economic forum, and received the Nobels Colloquea

  • prize for leadership on business and economic thinking.

  • Renée is the coauthor of Blue Ocean Strategy, a bestseller that's been published in a

  • record breaking 44 languages across five continents, selling over 3.6 million copies and winning

  • numerous awards.

  • The indispensable follow up, Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing, Proven Steps to Inspire

  • Confidence and Seize New Growth, is available now.

  • Renée, it is so good to have you here on the set of MarieTV.

  • I'm so glad to be here.

  • So, we'rethis is like mutual admiration society.

  • Yeah.

  • So I think you know this, but I have talked about Blue Ocean Strategy – I think I've

  • told tens of thousands of people, and I'm not exaggerating there, to get that book,

  • to use it in their business, as I shared with you when we were out east having an amazing

  • cocktail together.

  • We talk about Blue Ocean Strategy in B-School constantly.

  • And I thought like, when I discovered it?

  • I was likeoh, my gosh.

  • This is how I live my life.

  • This is how I've built my business.”

  • And I never really had language or context or a framework to share about it.

  • So for anyone watching that isn't a B-Schooler or hasn't had me tell them about this book,

  • can you explain to us what is a blue ocean strategy?

  • Just the whole concept.

  • Give us the nutshell version.

  • Yeah.

  • So, first I have to say, you're right.

  • It's mutual admiration.

  • Because I have been studying you as well and watching what you're doing in your space to

  • carve out this whole new market where you're not really competing with anyone else.

  • So I have to congratulate you on that.

  • And what we found is that in looking, most companies are all focused on competing against

  • one another in existing industries.

  • The problem is supply exceeds demand, so margins are tight, growth is limited.

  • And so what happens, it becomes what we think of as this bloody red ocean.

  • But what we saw is that the companies that are successful, like MarieTV, they're not

  • competing and doing what everyone else is doing.

  • They're creating new markets.

  • And there is no competition out there, and, therefore, they have strong profit and growth,

  • and we call those blue oceans because they're wide, open, and unexplored.

  • And so the first book set out the thesis, why are we competing when we can create?

  • And that's what the book was about.

  • Yeah.

  • And so for so many people watching, they have this underlying fear.

  • They look out into the world, whatever it is that they want to be or a business that

  • they want to start or perhaps they're already in a business.

  • And they're going, “Gosh, everyone else has already done the things I want to do.

  • They've already, you know, gone there, and how am I ever gonna stand out?”

  • I think what's so brilliant about your work, and, gosh, you guys have been doing this for

  • decades now.

  • You have so much experience, expertise, data, studies under your belt.

  • It really is this very specific actionable way to step back, take a survey of the landscape,

  • and in a very intentional way, do things differently.

  • And I think that's really what this next book, right, Blue Ocean Shift helps usit

  • gives us that roadmap to make it happen in our own businesses.

  • Yeah, and I think everyone thinks that the opportunities in my industry or what I'm

  • passionate about are different.

  • And I can tell your hairdresser probably thought that until Drybar came along.

  • The hamburger joints all thought that until Shake Shack came along.

  • Eyeglasses were collapsing the industry, nobody's in them, and then Warby Parker comes along.

  • So the opportunities we found, if you look at industry history, the number of industries

  • are just exploding.

  • What you're doing wasn't possible 10 to 15 years ago because the technology wasn't

  • there.

  • So what we found is, number one, there are opportunities in every single industry to

  • create, but the thing is, in order to move from competing to creating, we need to know

  • how to get there.

  • Otherwise we start sweating, we're scared, we don't know what to do.

  • And so what the second book is all about is providing that roadmap, which is the tools

  • and the guidance you need to take you step by step from that red ocean and give you new

  • ways of looking at the world so you see today what you couldn't see yesterday.

  • And that's what we're excited about.

  • Yeah.

  • And I think what's so coolone of the stories that's in the beginning of the book

  • that I just found so moving, and it's illustrative of how this concept isn't just about business.

  • This concept really, I think, is about creativity and how you live your life.

  • So what was so wonderful is about the story of Zuhal, the 17 year old Iraqi pianist who

  • wanted to create her country's first youth orchestra and travel abroad with it, but she

  • faced so many obstacles.

  • Can you tell us about that story?

  • So here you are, a young girl.

  • She's sitting there, she's 17 years old.

  • It's 2008.

  • Iraq is only known for destruction around the world.

  • All we hear are bad stories.

  • And she wanted to create a great story.

  • And she thought music is something that unites.

  • But here you have a country divided by factual warfare between different Sunnis and Shiites.

  • You have no resources, no logistics.

  • But she reaches out via the internet and she decides to look for a conductor.

  • She finds one in Scotland who's inspired, his name is Paul MacAlindin.

  • And he starts to look at her challenge.

  • He loves it, but he knows when he sees youth orchestras, “we have no way to compete.

  • They haven't had music education in Iraq for a long, long time.

  • They don't have good instruments.

  • I can't bring people together.

  • What do I do?”

  • And he knew, “if I compete and we try to be like other youth orchestras, we'll never

  • make it.

  • We'll never stand out.”

  • So by applying the blue ocean approach, he sayslet's not stand for the best musicians,

  • the best music, because we probably can't.

  • But let's stand for peace and bringing people together.

  • And let's make this something about uniting Sunnis and Shiites and showing that the youth

  • actually want to build a strong country together, not keep fighting like our parents and grandparents

  • did.”

  • And that's the nature.

  • And it became known by the BBC as the bravest orchestra in the world.

  • They did all different ways they built it, and they started traveling the world.

  • And it's probably one of the most socially followed youth orchestra ever.

  • And so it's just really inspiring.

  • So they play Kurdish music and Arabic music right next to Beethoven and Brahms, which

  • is lovely.

  • And what's so great about this story too, because I don't think there's anyone watching

  • or listening right now that hasn't found themselves at some point in life up against

  • a wall.

  • Right?

  • Looking out into that landscape going, “I don't have the resources, I don't have the

  • experience.

  • All these other people have all these other assets that I don't have.

  • But yet this burning desire in me to jump into the game.”

  • And this is, again, why it's like I love you guys and I love your work so much because

  • go ahead.

  • What got me so excited about the second book is the first book, of course, we do Cirque

  • du Soleil and everything.

  • When people saw the book they said, “this is great but, you know what?

  • I don't have Guy Laliberté or Steve Jobs as my CEO and I'm not that.

  • I have all these obstacles you're saying.”

  • So what the second book is about is seeing companies that were inspired by Blue Ocean

  • Strategy, took the tools and frameworks, worked on their own or work with us and use them

  • to shift their business.

  • So everyone in the second book is showing you how, like a 17 year old girl sitting in

  • Iraq with a conductor can start to change the world.

  • And so we look at regular people facing regular constraints, but applying this roadmap and

  • shifting from the red to the blue.

  • So, you know, we always say, now, you don't have to be born Steve Jobs.

  • Anyone can make a shift.

  • When we're actually given that roadmap and tools and guidance to know what works, what

  • doesn't, how to avoid the pitfalls and how to think differently.

  • And that's what we think the second book does, and that's why I'm super excited

  • about what it can do.

  • Yeah.

  • And, you know, with our B-Schoolersand whenever I talk to business owners in any

  • context, you know, one of the things they will often ask me about is pricing.

  • You know, pricing is such a big topic.

  • How do I know what to price my products and my services?”

  • And I'm a person who always advises, you know, you want to have some nice margins.

  • Margins are a wonderful thing.

  • Might not be a perfect connection point, but let's talk about Citizen M, a hotel chain,

  • because I think they're doing something really unique.

  • And, again, all of these stories may help people start to connect the dots for themselves

  • and go, 'Oh, wait.

  • I could do something like that.”

  • Yeah.

  • So the hotel industry is basically a red ocean.

  • It can't get bloodier than that.

  • I think there was a Wall Street Journal article in August of this year talking about how it's

  • going the way of airlines and just adding on all hidden costs and maybe even the FTC

  • should look into it.

  • This one hotel chain starts, it starts as two entrepreneurs, and they look at the industry

  • and that they say is let's startone of the paths to creating a blue ocean is to

  • look across strategic groups.

  • And so they said how can we combine the best of a five star, which is luxury, with the

  • best of a three star, which is price, to unlock a whole new market.

  • And so they opened up the market of affordable luxury hotels.

  • It has the luxury and the best locations, great sheets, great bedding of a five star

  • hotel, and a price accessible for a three star.

  • And today they have, just to give you the statistics, they have 90% occupancy rates,

  • whenwhich is 80% higher than the industry average.

  • They have guest satisfaction ratings in the superb and fabulous character category, and

  • their cost structure is 40% less per room and 50% lower service costs.

  • So can you imagine how profitable they are?

  • And that is by shifting the questions we ask.

  • If you ask, and this is really critical.

  • If you want to create a blue ocean, you can't look at what people are doing in your competitive

  • set.

  • You need to look outside to understand how to shift what you do.

  • Yes.

  • This is what we want to talk about.

  • Okay.

  • This is the thing I try and drill home to people even for what we do here, everything

  • I create, I try my darndest to not look at other folks who do similar things than what

  • we do, and I think that's been one of our secrets to success.

  • And I share it all the time, likeyou guys can do this too.”

  • But I'm so influenced by things outside whether it's fashion or music or sports

  • or entertainment or, you know, cooking or things just over in left field.

  • And you bring that inspiration back.

  • And I think this ties into something else, not necessarily related to what you talk about

  • in the book, but we have so many of these folks in our audience, people that consider

  • themselves multipassionate entrepreneurs, a little phrase that I coined way back.

  • And people often feel bad because they have so many passions about different things and

  • I'm like, “no.

  • You need to flip that script.

  • Because you being interested in all of these different sectors and having experience, you

  • can bring that back into whatever you're doing.

  • And all of a sudden your competitive edge is off the charts.”

  • Yeah.

  • Yeah.

  • I think what people need, especially people like you're talking about multi talents,

  • they just need a way to understand how they can channel that into growth opportunities.

  • Right?

  • So now they seem like they're diffused individuals all these passions.

  • They're running around.

  • And I think what the process tries to do is teach you how to channel it and direct it.

  • And to your point, yeah, you have to look outside.

  • But what the book does, it gives six different ways.

  • Where do you look?

  • Right?

  • To create.

  • So if I'm in the hotel industry and I look at what steel manufacturing does, it might

  • give me a smarter way to build my hotel, but maybe not how to serve my hotel.

  • And so what the industry gives youthe book gives you what should we compare and

  • contrast to start to gain insights about what we can do differently today in our industry

  • by learning from those outside of our industry.

  • And so it's exciting.

  • Yeah.

  • And I think the strategy canvas is still one of the most useful tools ever.

  • Can you tell us a little bit about what the strategy canvas is?

  • And I'm sure in post we can throw one up from the book.

  • Throw an example up.

  • So the strategy canvas is really powerful because if – I would argue our retail industry

  • in America today, which everyone claims is being decimated by Amazon, and they drew their

  • strategy canvas, they'd realize that they're leading to their own demise.

  • Because what it does is it shows you all the factors you're competing on, investing in,

  • and what's a competitive landscape.

  • What do buyers get?

  • So if you take the retail industry today you look at Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor's,

  • Bloomingdale's, you take away the signage, there isn't hardly a person that will know

  • which department store they're in.

  • They've all competed on the same factors and they all do the same thing.

  • And that's what that curve will reveal.

  • It'll also reveal for people, sodo I stand apart or not?”