More This, Less That


Fred Perrotta
A product’s position is a “location” in a more abstract space — the space of trade-offs. The decisions you make about which features to build and how to integrate them places you “closer” or “further” from other products.

I love positioning. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing first piqued my interest with "The Law of the Category." Blue Ocean Strategy took it to another level with its Strategy Canvas.

Positioning is the intersection of product and marketing.

As my role at Tortuga has evolved, I've stayed involved with our positioning decisions because those decisions impact the entire company and everything that we do downstread based on those decisions including product, marketing, and design.

Ryan Singer's article, Position, Position, Position!, makes positioning easy to understand by illustrating it as a spectrum.

Courtesy of Signal V. Noise

Singer works at Basecamp. As an example, Basecamp is more about asynchronous collaboration and less about live (synchronous) collaboration. Google Docs holds the latter position.

In addition to being easy to understand, this format also illustrates the tradeoffs that you must make in order to hold your position. Stating your position is easy. Consistently making the right decisions to maintain your position is hard.

Singer's spectrum format makes decision making easy:

Will this get move us closer to or further from our stated position?

After reading Ryan's post multiple times, I've started seeing versions of this idea everywhere. Sea Ranch, a planned community in Northern California, provides a great example.

I love the blunt simplicity of Yes/No or More This/Less That.

Inspired by Basecamp and Sea Ranch, I laid out some of Tortuga's positioning, for the company and for our products.

Here are a few examples:

Tortuga the Company

  • Less about top down, more about bottom up
  • Less about hockey stick growth, more about healthy, sustainable growth
  • Less about doing more, more about doing better

Tortuga Products

  • Less about everyday carry (EDC) or the outdoors, more about travel
  • Less about suitcases, more about bags
  • Less about checked luggage, more about carry ons and personal items

Have you written a similar list yourself? Seen any other good examples? Let me know, and I'll share them.