The Strategy of Service – Missionary vs Mercenary

I believe one of the most beneficial long-term strategies to grow your business is found in trying to serve your customers better. If you continue to get better at serving your customer over time you will continue to ensure that you are learning and growing, which is the key to staying relevant into the future.

John Doer, the famous investor from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers sums up this thought nicely in comparing missionaries and mercenaries. Here is a quick snippet of what he said at Stanford talking about difference between the two:

“… the difference between drive and paranoia which would be a characteristic of a mercenary and passion which is the characteristic of the missionary… the mercenaries are opportunistic; always interested in pitching the deal and they’re kind of sprinting for the short run. As opposed to the missionaries, who are much more strategic. They focus on the really big idea in forming a partnership that will last and they know that this business of innovating is something that takes a long time. They look at it more as a marathon.”

John Doer from Mercenaries and Missionaries | Stanford eCorner

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