Business News Story from the San Francisco Chronicle

Whitey Bluestein
Corporate Development and Mobile Connectivity Solutions | IoT, Roaming, Strategy | Board of Directors


Published Apr 30, 2024

Most of my clients are funded companies that market a commercial service or solution. When ready to approach strategic partners to accelerate growth, they need an experienced corporate development/deal person who knows how to navigate big companies. Occasionally, I work with younger companies who need help with launch timing or how to price a brand-new service.

The more disruptive an idea, the more protective innovators are; it's instinctive. How much about the concept is shared and with whom can be critical. To a point, founders are justified operating in secrecy to protect their business concept or IP until commercial launch. Indeed, paranoia is warranted in competitive arenas where revealing a new business concept might attract lookalikes or unwanted competitors before you're in the market. 

While you should consult a patent attorney about protecting new and unique ideas, my experience, proven time and again, is that "Speed to market is far more important than obsessing over secrecy."

Why not remain in stealth until the offering is perfected? Staying in stealth limits feedback on your offering. The reveal and launch as well as how it is initially positioned and priced lets you start in the pole position and get to revenue faster. Extended stealth can result in lost momentum while competitors are harnessing SEO, social, community work, PR, and more, growing market share. The bigger the problem you are trying to solve, the more likely it is that someone somewhere is working on the same problem. 

Does the first to market always win? Of course not! But the first to market enjoys an enormous advantage that, if not squandered, forces later entrants to jockey for second or third position. After the first three entrants, in telecoms and many other segments, the rest of the pack struggle to keep up with first movers, nibbling the remains of the day and hoping for consolidation and acquisition. 

My experience is that the longer a young company remains in stealth, the less likely it is to ever get to market. This does not only apply to startups. After years in stealth, Apple recently pulled the plug on its Apple Car project. As one of the world's most valuable companies, it will recover from a failure to launch. Startups do not enjoy this enviable position.

When introducing a new service where there are no comparable offerings in the market, the first step is understanding all material cost elements. For telecoms services, network costs, admin and outsourced services represent a pricing floor.

Retail pricing needs to be simple, understandable, and founded on the value of your service to your customers. The good news is that bulk service costs have been trending down since the beginning. Building volume, meeting forecasts, and paying bills on time will help you build trust with critical vendors and obtain best pricing and preferred treatment.

Retail pricing is not set in concrete and should be adjusted as feedback, usage data, key metrics, financial data, and trends are analyzed. Early on, companies benefit from employing trials and promotions to test market sensitivity to pricing changes. Inevitably, companies learn from users how they value and use the new offering, often in unexpected ways. For these reasons, building flexibility and the ability to respond to market feedback rapidly is essential. 

Young companies must get into the market with the most viable product or service possible, recognizing that there will always be bug fixes and new features to add. Striving for perfection only delays launch. The market feedback and the momentum of launching an exciting new offering can propel your company while others are hiding in stealth. A pricing structure that makes sense and pricing plans that work relative to competing products is critical. Once you're in the market with a commercial product, it's time to approach strategic partners and, of course, talk to me!

Whitey Bluestein advises technology companies on mobile strategies and helps them win deals. He has been engaged as an advisor, independent board member, and interim corporate development executive. He's also worked on new initiatives with global leaders, including Disney, Google and Microsoft among others. Whitey knows connectivity and helps clients navigate the mobile ecosystem and develop strategic relationships with mobile operators in North America, UK/Europe, and Asia Pacific. His business is all client referrals and the strong network of business and personal relationships built over his extensive business career. To request a free consult, email me at Read more at


  Copyright © 2022 TOBIN and Associates. All rights reserved.