As they grow, companies face the challenge of what is the core mission. Additional products and services represent more revenue but they also come at the cost of focus and lower margins.
Dyn has added things (and removed things) over the years and hopefully, this gives you a flavor of what we’ve done and why we have done it.
Focus, Focus, Focus
Identifying your core strength is critical to answer what you do. At Dyn, we provide Internet infrastructure. We write services and run them. The key is deciding which services fit well. What we look for are services that IT people rely on and ones that we can run better than they would.
We ultimately help people run their Internet-facing properties, either to enable remote access or increase the reliability of their website. We also help you better receive mail and send mail. If what you do isn’t part of your core story, be skeptical about changing your core value.
Keeping it straight and narrow is a constant battle. When you get good at something and have a following and customers (no matter how small), your fans ask for more. At first, everything you do is core. But before you know it, you’re being asked to do something far outside your realm of expertise. You have to be careful that it’s not just context (see Dealing with Darwin).
A few years ago, we made a decision between going wider on our services or wider on our audience. It was a tough decision and ultimately, we decided that our focus on our product was more important than the focus on our audience. While it took us a while to talk about our enterprise version of what we do, it was easier than having more services and figuring out how to cross them all.
The other issue is not be shy about phasing things out that don’t become core. We’re in the middle of spinning down a few things so that we can focus on our core. It has meant some sadness and disappointment for some users and some people at Dyn. The decision to sunset something is tough but every year, you should look at everything that you do and if it doesn’t fit, spin it down.