If you had to choose, would you rather “own” the relationship with your customers/clients or “own” a powerful/valuable idea?
Quote marks used because you can’t really “own” either. In a consensual relationship, either side can leave, but you can have a direct rather than an indirect relationship with a customer.
You can’t really own ideas either, but you can be so deeply associated with them such that evoking the idea almost concurrently evokes your personal brand.
So given all that, which asset would you rather own if you had to choose?
Feel free to ponder, reply, whatever.
This is, of course, an oversimplified thought experiment; a false dichotomy.
Maybe there’s an axis of business maturity here, where at one stage owning customer relationships makes sense but at an earlier/later stage owning ideas instead makes sense?
Maybe there’s an element of portfolio thinking here, where delegating the customer relationship for low value/higher risk stuff to a third party makes sense while being personally involved in higher value/lower risk relationships makes sense?
And maybe it’s as simple as, “I know how to monetize X but not Y, so I’d rather own X.”