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Blue Ocean Strategy: old wine in new bags…

I like to think in terms of results and purpose.

Moreover, I like to think of planned results and purpose and not coincidental ones.

By the way, writing this at the Jabal Al Akhdar Alila resort actually makes me think of oceans, which is really remarkable as I am in the mountains, but I will explain why…

I have not had the fascination of staying at the Burj Al Arab, but G has. Her observations are usually as

thorough (maybe even more so) as mine, so I take her experience very seriously. And when she described the probable reasons, why this hotel is so famous, personal staff and ridiculously exorbitant interiors, I wondered why I, like her, wasn’t impressed by these “benefits” leading to a qualification of 7 stars, which by the way is not an official qualification, but anyway…

I am kind of particular in taste. When everyone screams to get a product, I am usually a bit hesitant towards it, to say the least. Just like when I had discussions with my daughter’s doctor when she was small, really small and she, the doctor that is, pointed me towards the fact that she was far smaller than average. What is that, I asked, an average child? No one is average and an average as such doesn’t mean sh*t. So that’s why I have an aversion towards average. So when, on average most people love a product or service, I try to Keep Calm And Be Critical. What is it, that gives me joy? What fulfills my needs? What in essence makes me happy? (Well, for one, the song Happy never ceases to) And, most importantly: is this product the answer to these 3 questions? Often the answer is no. But every once in a while the answer is yes and I don’t even have to consciously ask the questions; I already feel when this is the case.

Small, little things like a cup of original espresso (not from those big machines that never seem to build up enough pressure), bigger things like my One Plus One phone (kicking Samsung and Apple’s asses by the way) and really big things like the Jabal al Akhdar Alila resort here in the big mountain

Simply put: all of these make me happy.

But that is indeed too simply put. I like to analyse why. Apparently, all of these products, whether essentially old or really new have in common that they answer my questions. Not just the ones mentioned earlier, but MY questions, like: Can I have the original taste of an espresso as I would have it on the Piazza Il Duomo in Firenze, but then at home? Can I get a telephone that has the most amazing specs, is not easily available and costs half the price of the other phones, that 95% of the population has? And: can I reside at a place which is so amazing and so unique that it almost takes Indiana Jones to find it, but once you are there, everything is consistent with the sheer beauty of the surroundings and you feel like a sultan?

Those questions. And realizing them makes me think of oceans. Red ones and blue ones.

Let me explain. In highly competitive markets, it is essential to be better than your competitors. If you are not you will drown. However, there are at least two ways to do this. First of all, you can look at what your competitors are doing and focus on doing the same better for the same price. Or doing the same but cheaper. These markets are called red oceans. Red, because eventually these markets get really messy (bloody). Now, both options have one thing in common: they focus on the competitor. What’s wrong with that, you might say? We have to be better than them, right?!


But at what?

Well, they have to be better at answering MY questions. And YOURS. And those of my DAUGHTERS. And many more of them. Not at doing the same.

And this is where, if they do it right, they are swimming into a blue ocean. An ocean of opportunities, which they discovered by matching what they do best to what I need. Not to what their competitors are doing.

That is exactly what I was thinking driving onto the ledge of Jabal al Akhdar where the Alila is located. It blends into the environment, because it is built with local materials in Omani style. The cuisine is influenced by all kinds of local dishes and ingredients. And at the same time, it is a resort with luxury and comfort that makes you feel completely at peace.

Lying under the stars on our balcony, seeing the canyon in the moonlight, we realized: thank the world for blue oceans…

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