Your Blue Ocean Is Filled With Tribbles

Yesterday, we recapped the classic Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” … in 10 Screencaps Or Less™.

Today, we’re using that story recap as a springboard into a discussion about seemingly predator-free environments.


The real trouble with Tribbles? They taste awful.

Tribbles Are Fuzzy & Cute

They even emit a trilling noise that soothes the savage breast. But Tribbles give birth at an alarming rate. Or, as Doctor McCoy remarks, “‘They reproduce at will. And, brother, have they got a lot of will.”

The Blue Ocean Looks Serene

As a product manager, you’re likely looking to create a Blue Ocean — an uncontested market space where you can make and capture new demand. Sounds good, doesn’t it? (And it definitely seems to have worked for Nintendo.)

Instead of slashing prices to capture bloody market share, who wouldn’t want to add “value” to products & services and claim that untapped market?

But Here’s The Thing

That Tribble you’re so proud of? It’s born pregnant. Without a natural predator to keep its population in check, it will spread uncontrollably and fill up that Blue Ocean you’ve created.

“Blue Oceans” don’t stay that way forever. Why? Because you can’t raise demand ad infinitum. Eventually, the predators will sniff out those Tribbles and come charging right at you.

The more successful you are, the greater the chances that someone — perhaps one of the direct or indirect competitors you’ve been siphoning sales from — will find a way to emulate (or, worse yet, improve upon) what you’ve done.

And then, depending your metaphor, you’re either back in a “red ocean” or you’re looking something like this:

By all means, dive into the Blue Ocean. Just be prepared for the Tribble Effect.

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Bonus Content!

Enjoy this overview of the Blue Ocean strategy…

… and these excellent criticisms of same.

3 thoughts on “Your Blue Ocean Is Filled With Tribbles”

  1. this entire blog is probably the most relevant thing to my interests since EVER.

    The marketing track are all scary bitches, but they get to study the fun stuff *seething envy*.

    It’s the most perfect thing. Most perfect blog. <3

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