The Business of Authority

Specialist vs. Generalist

Episode Summary

We untangle the strands of specializing and generalizing so you can decide what mix will work best for you

Episode Notes

The two ways you can decide to be a specialist or a generalist.

A four quadrant approach to choosing where you want to take your business on the generalist to specialist continuum.

How to make a generalist skill set work in a hyper-differentiated market place.

Why experimenting between the quadrants will lead you to your ideal balance between specializing and generalizing.


“In the etch-a-sketch metaphor there's these two knobs you can dial…one would be who you help and the other is what you do.”—JS

“Is there a market for this? And how big is that market?”—RM 

“The lower left quadrant is a rough place to be because that's the place where you have downward pricing pressure. You're commoditized.”—JS

“If you just pick one of these two axes, I think most people know right away which feels better.”—RM

“If you really want to be a generalist, I'd say, okay. Stay general in your skills, but pick a vertical, pick who you help.”—JS

“This can be an experiment, but even if it doesn't work, what do you learn from that experiment? Well, you learn what you didn't like, so how do you get closer to what you DO want?”—RM 

“You create a moat around yourself that very few competitors will be able to cross.”—JS

“You can think about which quadrant am I in? And is it the right quadrant for me and for my business? “—RM