Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Selectively Abandoning the Past

One of the things I respect most about what Denton does with Gawker is offloading things while they’re still doing pretty well. If you ask me, it’s precisely his willingness to cannibalize his own businesses that helps hims stay on top. I’ve had trouble articulating exactly how to describe that behavior until I ran across Vijay Govindarajan three box model. The three boxes are, “manage the present,” “selectively abandon the past” and “create the future.” It’s a simple framework, and seems pretty obvious, but as Govindarajan most companies focus only on box one, a “tendency [that] has been particularly acute in the past two to three years, as most leaders have emphasized reducing costs and improving margins in their current businesses.”

Anyway, I’ll refer to Gawker Media’s behavior as “selectively abandoning the past” from here on out. Though he catches some slack for it, I think many companies could learn quite a bit about being less precious with their products from Denton. Plus it sounds nicer than layoffs.

August 31, 2009