Thursday, August 2, 2012

Picking the right battles

I shook my head reading about the recent disqualification of 4 badminton teams from the Olympics.  Unless there was a rule forbidding teams from throwing games, the disqualification is misguided.  In building products, we often pick strategies that offer differentiation on high value features while ceding ground on less-profitable features.  In my current gig, we prioritized adding more mobile friendly authentication methods over some missing features to support the desktops.  This means that we lose a few deals that require desktop support, but even if we had this feature, it wouldn't command premium pricing.  Contrast this with the newer mobile features that is helping us sell at a much higher price point because our competition do not have some capabilities.  This is a choice that we picked and would pick again if we have to.

Why should sportsmen (or women) not be afforded the freedom to choose the matches they want to win?  Is using the brain to get closer to the gold medal such a bad thing?  

3 comments:

sanjay said...

I get your point, but I am not sure your example is valid.

The Olympic committee has a responsibility to intervene when two teams are blatantly trying to throw the game in front of thousands of spectators. It wasn't sporting and the fact the teams did not even appeal shows they got the ruling right.

If everyone decided to only follow the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law, I don't think most of us would be ok with that.

BayAreaGuy said...

Sanjay,
It would be better if the Olympic committee changes the incentives to avoid this instead of penalizing the teams afterwards.

Paul Barnes said...

This is an old post now and the story long forgotten, but I came across it while looking for something else.

I agree with the argument that in life, business, sport or other practice, that it makes most sense to put ones efforts into the outcomes that are going to reap the most value or highest return.

But, these teams showed a flagrant disrespect for their sport, their stakeholders, their country and the spirit of the games.

To willfully engineer the game in the way that they did does little to promote what otherwise should have been a great sporting spectacle.

They made a decision, they got it wrong, they paid the price.