One thing I wish I understood earlier in my career is that value creation is not the same as value capture.

You might create a lot of value (say, by growing a lot of berries on your farm) but you might not receive much of the profits (i.e. you can’t capture the value you’ve created). This is largely due to industry structure (see Michael Porter’s body of work) dictating where profits flow.

It’s a real challenge to stop thinking in terms of only product creation and instead think of company creation. Product-first companies tend to have an inherent bias that the product is intrinsically valuable. Enduring companies, on the other hand, are constantly evaluating their relative strength and position in the market to deploy the right tools to capture value. You might create value, sure, but if you can’t capture enough of that value, you don’t have a viable business model.