"The Intersection of Tax Planning and Product Strategy: Lessons from Morning Musume"


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 12, 2023

3 min read


"The Intersection of Tax Planning and Product Strategy: Lessons from Morning Musume"


In an unlikely scenario of Morning Musume being an American startup, we can draw intriguing parallels between tax planning and product strategy. While Section 83(a) and Section 83(b) of the tax code provide insights into stock compensation, the best practices for developing a product strategy can also offer valuable lessons. By exploring the common points between these two seemingly unrelated topics, we can uncover unique ideas and actionable advice for entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Section 83(b) Election: Recognizing Income and Mitigating Risks

Section 83(b) election, positioned just below Section 83(a) in the tax code, challenges the conventional principle of income recognition upon the grant of stocks. By filing this election, individuals can recognize income at the time of stock grant, regardless of vesting conditions. However, it comes with the risk of not receiving a tax refund if they leave before the rights are vested. Incorporating this concept into product strategy, we learn the importance of taking calculated risks. Just as filing a Section 83(b) election involves potential drawbacks, pursuing a specific market or audience in product strategy entails risks. But by carefully assessing and understanding these risks, businesses can make informed decisions and potentially reap greater rewards.

Starting with a Clear Problem Statement: Defining the Audience and Market

Similar to the foundation of a product strategy, developing a clear problem statement is crucial in tax planning. In product strategy, understanding the problem you aim to solve and for whom is essential. This aligns with tax planning's need to define the audience for whom the granted stocks will create value. By knowing whose problem you are solving and who holds the power to decide, you can focus your efforts on their needs and increase your chances of success. Additionally, just as product strategy requires understanding the competitive landscape, tax planning also necessitates evaluating the market to determine if it is worth venturing into.

Identifying Unique Value: Leveraging Strategic Assets

In both tax planning and product strategy, recognizing and utilizing unique advantages is key to achieving success. Tax planning prompts individuals to identify their unique assets and how they can maximize their tax benefits. Similarly, product strategy urges businesses to identify their strategic assets, allowing them to gain a "right to win" in a specific market. By leveraging these unique assets, both in tax planning and product strategy, individuals and businesses can differentiate themselves and create a competitive edge.

Execution: The Bridge Between Strategy and Success

While strategy sets the direction, execution acts as the bridge that leads to success. In product strategy, execution plays a pivotal role in differentiating between winning and losing companies. Similarly, in tax planning, the actual implementation of the chosen strategies is crucial for achieving desirable outcomes. Both realms emphasize the importance of defining success, identifying risks, and maintaining an objective approach. By focusing on practical execution and addressing potential pitfalls, individuals and businesses can increase their chances of accomplishing their goals.


By intertwining the concepts of tax planning and product strategy, we discover valuable insights that can benefit entrepreneurs and business leaders. From the importance of taking calculated risks to the significance of understanding the target audience and leveraging unique assets, the common points between these topics offer actionable advice. Before concluding, here are three actionable tips for entrepreneurs:

  • 1. Embrace calculated risks: Just as in tax planning, carefully assess the risks involved in your product strategy and make informed decisions.
  • 2. Define your target audience: Understand whose problem you are solving and focus your efforts on meeting their needs before expanding into broader markets.
  • 3. Prioritize execution: Strategy alone is not enough; ensure that your product strategy is actionable and focus on effective execution to achieve success.

Remember, a product strategy, like tax planning, is a living document that evolves over time. By continuously adapting and refining your strategies, you can stay ahead in the dynamic business landscape.

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