Jordan Mayes

Business Planning @ Top Hat
// ex-BDC VC, Extreme Startups & Deloitte Consulting Toronto

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Revenue, Users Or Technology

For a startup to survive, it must discover early on what its’ goal is. In the end, every startup has three options: Build a Revenue Generating Machine, Build a User Generating Machine or Build a Technology or Data Asset.

  1. Revenue

    This is likely the single most common and also the most obvious goal for startups that turn into long-term companies. The goal of these organizations is to generate sustainable revenue growth. What is sustainable revenue growth? This is revenue growth that creates either enough growth (to attract outside investment) or net income to warrant continued re-investment.

  2. Users

    The second option a startup has is to build a user base. This is famously the path that Mark Zuckerberg was so passionate about pursuing during the early days of Facebook. These companies look to build large user bases that they - or another company - can eventually monetize (or...

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A Third Reason to Acquire - Expanding Disney’s M&A Vision

Disney is a company that I’ve admired most of my life (and as such you’ll likely see some posts on this blog about them). Few companies have endured for so long by primarily using the tools of creativity and innovation.

As I’ve studied the company one thing that I admire is the simplicity - yet power - of their acquisition strategy. This strategy has guided the acquisition of some of the largest brands in recent years including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Kevin Mayer, Disney’s EVP responsible for Strategy and M&A articulated this in an interview by saying there are, at its core, two things Disney buys:

  1. Channels to distribute their content through

    Disney is unmatched globally with the breadth and depth of their media distribution network. Disney’s channels includes radio and television networks with a global reach, movie studios, theme parks scattered around the world, an increasing...

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What is Strategy

Strategy is an amorphous term. Even when we started IBR four years ago as a journal for students and alumni of the Ivey Business School to discuss their thoughts on strategy it was difficult to articulate. I’ve found Richard Rumelt to do an exceptional job at defining what good strategy is in his work Good Strategy / Bad Strategy. In it, Rumelt defines good strategy as an essential logical structure that has three components:

  1. A diagnosis: This is a clear definition of the nature of the challenge. Ideally, the diagnosis takes away much of the complexity and distraction of a situation and distills it down to the a clearly defined core problem.
  2. A guiding policy: This specifies the approach to dealing with the obstacles called out in the diagnosis.
  3. Coherent actions: Feasibly coordinated policies, resource commitments and cations designed to carry out the guiding policy (tactics).


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