My dog Rocco likes his walks. Some are short, some are long, but anything that involves stretching his legs and taking in the smorgasbord of smells in our neighborhood, he's in. But, there is one thing that makes gives me pause just about every time: where he marks his territory. On our normal morning walk, there are some obvious targets for Rocco's territory marking; trees, planters, the side of the grocery store... etc. But, there is one wrought iron fence half way up our block that he always stops at. Not because it is "valuable" territory to mark, but because it is territory that is frequently marked by all the dogs in the neighborhood. Nothing special about it, just a place that they all think is worth a pit stop.
It got me thinking on the rest of the walk about the territory we all mark in business that we mark because we've been told it matters by everyone else but that may or may not hold real value. Number of likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter? A write up in Mashable or a panel invite for SXSW? There is no doubt that other folks are marking that territory, but is it territory that you should be?
This idea is expanded on and even more fleshed out in the book Blue Ocean Strategy: "lasting success comes from creating 'blue oceans': untapped new market spaces ripe from growth... companies around the world are skipping the bloody red oceans of rivals and creating their very own blue oceans." Definitely worth checking out.
Or, as Mark Twain said, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."