What's the Difference Between James Bond and Captain America? Product Positioning!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

There's a famous saying in the field of software engineering:

There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.

While the former is far outside the scope of this article, naming is fundamentally important to pricing strategy. One must only compare two heroic figures to understand why:

Captain America: inferior to James Bond
Image courtesy of Dick Johnson

On the face of it, the two characters have a lot in common. Yet there is one big difference: product positioning! Because the highly-skilled James Bond is categorized as a "secret agent," his reputation as being the cream of the crop is assured. Meanwhile, Captain America is frequently grouped with the likes of Superman and the Green Lantern - superheroes with extraordinary powers that could snap him like the proverbial twig. As a result, his accomplishments are devalued and he stands as but one of many superheroes, far from the most impressive in his class.

Each character has effectively self-categorized himself by his nomenclature. As a result, Mr. Bond can be marketed at premium pricing levels (because he's the best in class) while poor Mr. Rogers' pricing must be discounted (due to the significant competition in his class).

Every person (whether secret agent, superhero, or even just businessman) deserves a better understanding of pricing theory. If you're operating in the field of software engineering, you need a copy of my book on software pricing. If you're not, you'd certainly benefit from a private pricing consultation. You'll go from zero to hero in no time flat.

P.S. Before anyone suggests that James Bond couldn't be considered a superhero because he doesn't wear a mask, I would point out that many superheroes (including Justice League members Superman, the Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman and John Stewart) do not wear masks either.