Brad Chase was the marketing mastermind behind one of the most successful software launches ever – Windows 95. He replicated this success while serving at Microsoft on several other high-profile projects. Brad is the author of Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big. In this episode, we discuss the big ideas in his book including the E-Strategy and simple formula that’s simple, impactful, and memorable.
Who is Brad Chase?
Brad spent nearly 15 years at Microsoft. His last role was as a senior vice president and executive officer managing a team of 4,000. For three years starting in 1999, he led MSN.com’s transformation from an internet service to a global traffic and search leader. As mentioned in the show, he led marketing for the client and server business for Windows 2000, Windows 95, and Internet Explorer through the first 5 versions.
As mentioned during the first few minutes of the show, he developed and led the marketing strategy, execution, and worldwide, record-breaking launch for Windows 95.
Today, Brad advises businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 500 firms in various markets. He has also held leadership positions in numerous nonprofit organizations.
You can learn more about Brad’s background at his website.
In 2021, Brad released his first book, Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big which was the main topic of our conversation with Brad.
What is Strategy?
According to Brad, strategy is your plan to compete and how to achieve business goals base around a fundamental bet.
Now, people do get strategy wrong all the time. They confuse it with tactics, vision, or they confuse it with a lot of things. But it’s fundamental. There’s no company you can name that has won or is winning in a marketplace without a winning strategy. Sometimes it’s dumb luck. Most of the time it is well thought out. But there’s no company that wins without a strategy, a winning strategy.Brad Chase
What is the E-Strategy?
The 3 Legs of Strategy and the Strategy Mistakes
Brad’s strategy formula is E x MC².
- E = execution
- M = market potential
- C = customer value
Mistake 1 – developing a strategy in isolation of knowing the competition. Good ideas don’t work when the competition is not understood.
Mistake 2 – while many businesses come out with new products, the customer value is missing or it’s not compelling in the eyes of the buyers.
Mistake 3 – startups have a ‘good idea’ origin story, but if it lacks in market potential, that’s not going to work for the long-term.
Other Big Ideas Mentioned on the Show
- Big bets
- Strategy is not vision and tactics
- Businesses missing the mark
- Scorecarding the strategy
- Climbing short walls, building tall walls
- The MSN turnaround
Strategy First Worksheets
During the conversation, Brad mentioned the Strategy First worksheets that can be downloaded from his website. Here’s the link to those worksheets.
Books Mentioned During the Show
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Title photo courtesy of Brad Chase via BradChase.net.