Like in Is There Optimal Competence?, Is This The Best I Can Do? or earlier Create More Value Than You Can Capture.
Selecting a platform, it matters who you are working with
When I select a platform, I want to know who I am working with, where to find them and how they "think". It was 1990, when I personally met Stephen Wolfram the first time. In Linz (still our headquarter). I organized one of the First European Tour events, where Stephen presented Mathematica. I managed to attract an audience of 400 people, a press conference and an interview at the Austrian TV... and had enough time to talk to Stephen about motivations, principles and approaches.
And I made a quick decision. Mathematica will be the computational platform for our innovations - to extend it or work atop it. And this happened since then with Mathematica: Stephen Wolfram talking about the Computational Future.
To get picked or choose yourself?
Seth Godin had two amazing blog posts (Getting picked .. and But I don't want to do this ...) about this in the last few days. And I could not agree more: to do what you find important, it helps if you get picked. But this is not the only way. If you choose yourself you set the pace now and then and maybe create a new context - probably only in a segment. Opening a path that does not require to get picked to succeed.
After the experience it is easy to say
As a marketer, I should not admit, but it was rationale and intuition to decide working towards long lasting partnerships with our users. Especially at the beginning it is frightening to choose yourself. But, at the other hand to work for the mainstream creates (only) mainstream ...
We have 100+ customers now. But more important: a significant part of them became partners and innovators. And they require that we do not only choose, but prove ourselves. And this also means that we need to change quite often.
Especially in quant finance - new difficulties may be ahead.