As a company moves from insurgent to incumbent, and gets big and complex and involved in lots of different things, it tends to end up with lots of different objectives, tactics and strategies. At that point, trying to understand it from outside, it can be useful to think not about what it's trying to do but what it's afraid of. This company want to do lots of things, but what's the existential threat? What does it want not to happen? What scares it, late at night?

Benedict Evans posits a really interesting way of looking at two examples of this with Apple & Google. It's a great way to get to the truth. I often hear Creative's think of the 'worst' creative idea for a brief to focus on what could be the inverse of that. 

I think we can apply this to not just large companies but small too, and maybe even ourselves.