Steve Clean Mapping the Unknown – The Ten Steps to Map Any Trade

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

 Lǎozi 老子

I simply had lunch with Shenwei, one in all my ex-students who had simply taken a job in a mid-sized consulting agency.  After a little bit of catching up I provided he was trying a bit misplaced. “I simply obtained handed a challenge to assist our agency enter a brand new trade – semiconductors. They need me to map out the area so we are able to determine the place we are able to add worth.

Once I requested what they already knew about it, they tossed me a tall stack of trade and inventory analyst experiences, firm names, internet sites, blogs. I began studying via a bunch of it and I’m drowning in information however don’t know the place to begin. I really feel like I don’t know a factor.”

I instructed Shenwei I used to be blissful for him as a result of he had simply been handed an superior studying alternative – the best way to quickly perceive after which map any new market. He gave me a “straightforward so that you can say” look, however earlier than he might object I handed him a pen and a serviette and requested him to jot down down the names of corporations and ideas he examine which have something to do with the semiconductor enterprise – in 30 seconds. He shortly got here up with a listing with 9 names/phrases. (See Mapping – First Move)

“Nice, now now we have a begin. Now give me a couple of phrases that describe what they do, or imply, or what you don’t learn about them.”

Don’t let the enormity of unknowns frighten you. Begin with what you do know.

After a couple of minutes he got here up with a serviette sketch that regarded like the image in Mapping – Second Move. 
Now we had some progress.

I identified he now had a starter listing that not solely contained corporations however the starting of a map of the relationships between these corporations. And whereas he had a couple of details, others had been hypotheses and ideas. And he had a ton of unanswered questions.

We spent the following 20 minutes deconstructing that sketch and mapping out the Second Move listing as a diagram (see Mapping – Third Move.)

As you retain studying extra supplies, you’ll have extra questions than details. Your objective is to first flip the questions into testable hypotheses (guesses). Then see if yow will discover information that turns the hypotheses into details. For some time the questions will begin accumulating sooner than the details. That’s OK.

Notice that even with simply the sparse set of data Shenwei had, within the backside right-hand nook of his third mapping cross, a relationship diagram of the semiconductor trade was starting to emerge.

Drawing a diagram of the relationships of corporations in an trade will help you deeply perceive how the trade works and who the important thing gamers are. Begin constructing one instantly. As you discover you’ll be able to’t fill in all of the relationships, the gaps outlining what you might want to study will turn into instantly seen.

As the data fog was starting to carry, I might see Shenwei’s confidence returning. I identified that he had an actual benefit that his task was in a identified trade with numerous out there data. He shortly realized that he might hold including data to the columns within the third mapping cross as he learn via the experiences and internet sites.

Google and Google Scholar are your finest mates. As you uncover new data improve your search phrases.

My suggestion was to make use of the diagram within the third mapping cross as the start of a wall chart – both bodily (or just about if he might hold it in all in his head). And each time he discovered extra concerning the trade to replace the connection diagram of the trade and its segments. (When he identified that there have been current diagrams of the semiconductor trade he might copy, I urged that he ignore them. The objective was for him to know the trade effectively sufficient that he might draw his personal map ab initio – from the start. And if he did so, he may create a a lot better one.)

When lunch was over Shenwei requested if it was OK if he checked in with me as he discovered new issues and I agreed. What he didn’t know was that this was solely step one in a ten-step trade mapping course of.


Over the following few weeks Shenwei shared what he had discovered and despatched me his more and more refined and up to date trade relationship map. (The 4th  mapping cross confirmed up 48 hours later.)In change I shared with him the information that he was on step one in all a ten step trade mapping program. Different the following few weeks he shortly constructed on the trade map to reply questions 2 via 10 under.

Two weeks later he handed his management an trade report that coated the ten steps under and contained a complicated trade diagram he created from scratch. A far cry from his unique serviette sketch!

Six months later his work on this challenge satisfied his firm that there was a big alternative within the semiconductor area, and so they began a brand new apply with him in it. His work received him the “finest new worker” award.

The Ten Steps to Map any Trade

Begin by repeatedly refining your understanding of the trade by diagramming it. Listing all the brand new phrases you encounter and create a glossary in your individual phrases. Begin amassing the perfect sources of data you’ve learn.

Primary Trade Understanding

  1. Diagram the trade and its segments
    1. Begin with something
    2. Construct your studying by successive iteration
    3. Who’re the important thing suppliers to every phase?
    4. How does this trade feed into the bigger financial system?
  2. Create a glossary of trade distinctive phrases
    1. Are you able to clarify them to others? Are there analogies to different markets?
  3. Who’re the trade consultants in every phase? For all the trade?
    1. Financial consultants? E.g. trade analysts, universities, suppose tanks
    2. Know-how consultants? E.g. universities, suppose tanks
    3. Geographic consultants?
  4. Key Conferences, blogs, internet sites, and so on.
    1. What are the perfect opensource information feeds?
    2. What are the perfect paid assets?

Overlay numbers, {dollars}, market share, Compound Annual Development Fee (CAGR) on all components of the trade diagram. That can inform velocity and route of the market.

Detailed Trade Understanding

  1. Who’re the market leaders? New entrants? In income, market share and development charge
    1. Within the U.S.
    2. Western nations
    3. China
  2. Perceive the know-how flows
    1. Who builds on high of who
    2. Who’s crucial versus who will be substituted
  3. Perceive the financial flows
    1. Who buys from who on this trade
    2. Who buys the output from this trade.
    3. How cyclical is demand?
    4. What are the demand drivers?
    5. How do corporations inside every phase get funded? Any variations in capital necessities? Ease of beginning, and so on.
  4. If relevant, perceive the personnel movement for every phase
    1. Do individuals transfer simply between their segments or up and down via all the trade?
    2. The place do they get educated?

The newbie’s forecasting methodology is to easily extrapolate present development charges ahead. However in right now’s know-how markets, discontinuities are coming quick and livid. Are there different applied sciences from adjoining markets will impression this one? (e.g. AI, Quantum, Excessive efficiency computing,…?). Are there different international or nationwide financial initiatives that might change the form of the market?


  1. What’s modified within the final 10 years? 5 years?
    1. Diagram the previous incarnations of the trade
  2. What’s going to alter within the subsequent 5 years?
    1. Any huge perception on disruption?
    2. New entrants?
    3. New know-how?
    4. New overseas suppliers?
    5. Diagram your mannequin of the trade in 5 years