The Intersection of Product Strategy and Cumulative vs. Cyclical Knowledge

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Aug 30, 2023

3 min read


The Intersection of Product Strategy and Cumulative vs. Cyclical Knowledge


In the world of business, product strategy plays a crucial role in determining how a product can delight customers and create a sustainable advantage. At the same time, the nature of knowledge in different fields varies, with some being cumulative and others cyclical. This article explores the connection between product strategy and the concept of cumulative vs. cyclical knowledge, highlighting the importance of adapting and evolving to meet customer needs.

#1 The DHM Model:

Product strategy encompasses the fundamental question of how a product can delight customers in hard-to-copy, margin-enhancing ways. This model emphasizes the significance of factors such as brand building, network effects, economies of scale, unique technology, counter-positioning, switching costs, and process power. By leveraging these elements, businesses can create a competitive advantage that is difficult for competitors to replicate.

The DHM model also recognizes the need for continuous experimentation and adaptation. It acknowledges that product strategy is an ongoing process, requiring businesses to evaluate different prices and business models over the lifespan of a product. By remaining open to change and embracing a growth mindset, companies can stay ahead of the curve and continue to delight their customers.

Cumulative vs. Cyclical Knowledge:

While product strategy is rooted in the realm of business, it is essential to consider the nature of knowledge that underpins various fields. Cumulative knowledge refers to the accumulation of information and insights over time, where each new discovery builds upon previous knowledge. In contrast, cyclical knowledge implies that information and understanding may fluctuate or repeat, lacking a linear progression.

Fields such as physics and mathematics exemplify cumulative knowledge, as each new breakthrough or theory adds to the existing body of knowledge. However, in areas guided by human behavior, such as finance, philosophy, and relationships, knowledge tends to be cyclical at best. This distinction is important to recognize when developing product strategies that cater to human needs and preferences.

Connecting Product Strategy and Knowledge:

The intersection of product strategy and cumulative vs. cyclical knowledge highlights the need for adaptability and a customer-centric approach. While product strategy may draw upon cumulative knowledge in terms of business principles and strategies, it must also acknowledge the cyclical nature of human behavior.

By applying the DHM model, businesses can leverage cumulative knowledge to create hard-to-copy advantages. However, they must also remain attuned to the cyclical nature of customer preferences and adapt their strategies accordingly. This requires a deep understanding of customer behavior, continuous market research, and a willingness to experiment with different approaches.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Conduct regular customer research: To ensure that your product continues to delight customers, invest in robust market research to understand their evolving needs and preferences. This will allow you to identify areas of improvement and tailor your product strategy accordingly.
  • 2. Embrace a growth mindset: Recognize that product strategy is an ongoing process that requires adaptation and experimentation. Embrace a growth mindset that encourages learning from failures and continuously seeking new ways to enhance your product's value proposition.
  • 3. Explore price and business model experiments: Keep an open mind when it comes to pricing and business models. Consider conducting experiments over the next 1-3 years to test different approaches and gauge customer response. This will enable you to identify the most effective strategies for maximizing customer delight and profitability.


Product strategy and the nature of knowledge intersect in fascinating ways. By incorporating the DHM model and understanding the distinction between cumulative and cyclical knowledge, businesses can develop strategies that not only delight customers but also adapt to their ever-changing needs. By embracing a growth mindset, conducting regular customer research, and exploring price and business model experiments, companies can position themselves for long-term success in a dynamic marketplace.

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