When you look at a really good strategy, like Southwest’s or IKEA’s, the whole is so intricate and consistent, the economic logic so clear and compelling, that you think it must have all been planned out in advance. Not so. Consider Dell. The core of its strategy crystallized early around selling direct (avoiding the reseller’s margin) and building to order using purchased components (avoiding the cost of internal technology development and component manufacturing). From that core, much developed and changed over time, as the company learned about possibilities inherent in the strategy that Michael Dell didn’t envision at the start.