Still, if "strategy" is "deciding what to do" and "execution" is "doing what you decided to do," then Fred's statement is almost tautological; there's nothing left for execution but "straightforward hard work" once you've drained out all the decision-making.
On the other hand, if we say "strategy" is only decision-making at the highest level, then I don't think execution is just straightforward hard work; there's logistics and tactics, too, which are critical.
Think of the dead companies with the right strategy who spent too much money, or who bet on the wrong technology platform, or who couldn't marshal a top-tier sales organization.
I think Fred meant something like "a catchy headline, even if not strictly true, will garner more readers".
It's one of those easy strategies.
The only way I could imagine anyone disagreeing on this subject is if they have different definitions of "strategy".
The first means you understand what to do, though the doing may be arduous. eg getting fit is easy.
The second means the doing is itself not arduous. eg sitting on the couch is easy.
Are there good startup-oriented books on go-to-market strategy, distribution channels and business models? E.g. should startups choose business models that are compatible with existing strategy in companies that could aquire the startup?
List of software revenue models derived from a Fred Wilson post, https://gist.github.com/ndarville/4295324
OSS business models, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_models_for_open-sou...
Across many industries, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Business_models
- Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter. (But just reading the HBR On Strategy book is probably good enough to get you started.)
- Positioning by Trout & Ries
If you search for things like 'marketing channels map', there are plenty of results. But it's more important to have a few key tactics that play into your strategy, and then your engagement with the rest of the marketing channels is going to be pretty generic for most businesses.
And I don't think there is an authoritative encyclopedia of business models, or at least there wasn't the last time I looked into it.
Yes, such a high-level overview would be valuable, if only to provide business model names/types for web searches. Along those lines, there is a small book called "The Decision Book: 50 Models for Strategic Thinking", oriented to individual decisions. Each model receives a introduction and illustration, http://www.amazon.com/The-Decision-Book-Strategic-Thinking/d...
As for what happened to Tacoda post-acquisition, it wasn't pretty.
Perhaps a better way to say this is "execution doesn't matter if your strategy isn't working". The way this is written seems to diminish the effort that happens between the pivot and the exit. It also seems to diminish the luck and timing involved (frothy markets, AOL's ravenous acquisition appetite, popularity of ad models, etc)
"Ultimately Dave decided to flip the go to market model to an ad network and within a year the business exploded and it sold a few years later to AOL for something like $275mm."
It also seems to contradict of most startup advice I hear , which is some variation of "Ideas are easy. Execution is everything"
I think it is healthy for people to take a step back from the "Ideas don't matter" ledge and consider that execution applied aimlessly also may not matter.
It's probably better to think of the idea as the overall goal and the strategy as the plan for achieving it.
e.g. "Let's $idea by $strategy."
As a founder myself, I've struggled with getting caught up in too much execution. It's important to take time to lift your head up and see where you're steering the ship, and seeing if there's a path of less resistance :).