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How to create a contrarian POV to win with AI

A Framework with Examples

In a recent webinar session, I emphasized the importance of developing a contrarian point of view to succeed with AI. Drawing from my extensive experience as a serial entrepreneur and mentor to over 150 tech founders, I discussed the value of articulating unique insights to drive growth.

Key Takeaways

1. Contrarian but Correct Viewpoints:

I believe that having a unique perspective that challenges the consensus can significantly differentiate AI offerings. A contrarian point of view, one that is held by a minority but is correct, can set you apart in the competitive landscape.

2. Reformulating Category Problems:

Identifying novel insights within a category can redefine problems and open new avenues for innovation. It’s crucial to look at the problems from a buyer’s perspective and rethink the current solutions and substitutes being used to address those problems.

3. Generating Unique Solutions:

Combining new capabilities with existing ones can create a distinctive competitive edge. This involves reformulating your tech offering to address the redefined problems in a novel way.


There are many ways to reformulate problems within a category, such as customer discovery, root cause analysis, and five-factor forces analysis.

For simplicity, let’s focus on examining functional and structural constraints and trade-offs in a category. By understanding these trade-offs, we can identify novel insights and create innovative solutions.

Here are a few hypothetical examples to illustrate the process.


Reformulating the Problem:

In the manufacturing sector, a head of procurement typically grapples with challenges like cost-effectiveness and reliability of suppliers, optimizing inventory levels, and managing supplier risk. The trade-offs they face include balancing cost versus quality and lead time versus inventory.

Generating a Novel Insight:

By introducing AI, we can dynamically balance these trade-offs. For instance, AI could predict and optimize procurement processes, leading to better cost management and quality assurance.

Reformulating the Solution:

This approach not only enhances efficiency but also provides a fresh perspective on managing procurement challenges.


Reformulating the Problem:

In retail, particularly for a head of merchandising, the main challenges include optimizing product mix, driving pricing strategies, and enhancing customer experience across channels. The trade-offs here often involve shelf space versus product variety and turnover versus stock availability.

Generating a Novel Insight:

AI can revolutionize this space by continuously analyzing consumer behavior and dynamically adjusting the product assortment.

Reformulating the Solution:

Imagine an AI system that personalizes product recommendations in real time, thereby optimizing both shelf space and inventory turnover while enhancing customer satisfaction.


Reformulating the Problem:

For the banking sector, focusing on the head of customer service, the primary challenges are customer satisfaction versus cost efficiency and response time versus quality of service.

Generating a Novel Insight:

AI can significantly impact this area by providing personalized assistance, optimizing customer service solutions, and integrating seamlessly with legacy systems.

Reformulating the Solution:

For example, AI could automate routine tasks, freeing up human agents to handle more complex queries, thus improving overall customer satisfaction and reducing operational costs.

Framework for Contrarian Viewpoints

To generate a contrarian point of view, start by looking at the existing trade-offs in your industry and ask novel questions. For instance, in each of the examples above, I examined the current constraints and trade-offs to identify opportunities where AI could offer a new solution.

Here are the steps I recommend:

1. Reformulate the Problem: Look at the current structural and functional constraints and trade-offs in your category.

2. Generate a Novel Insight: Ask what-if questions to explore new ways of solving the existing problems using AI.

3. Reformulate the Solution: Combine new AI capabilities with existing ones to create a differentiated offering.

By following this framework, you can create a contrarian point of view that sets you apart from competitors. This isn’t about positioning; it’s about understanding where to play and how to carve out a unique space in the market.


To conclude, reflect on companies like Salesforce, Amazon, and Stripe, which all started with a fresh take on existing problems. Salesforce revolutionized CRM with SaaS, Amazon disrupted IT infrastructure with cloud services, and Stripe simplified online payments with easy-to-integrate APIs.

Each of these companies asked the critical questions: What is our fresh take on the problem? How is our tech offering different? What is the unique customer outcome we deliver?

I encourage you to apply this template to your own business and explore the possibilities of creating a contrarian point of view.

Let’s continue to challenge the status quo and unlock new opportunities for innovation and growth.

Growth Matters
Growth Matters Podcast
Growth Matters podcast and newsletter is for tech leaders seeking to scale their business. Anurag Wadehra explores patterns that drive growth, achieve product market fit and build a sustainable brand
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