Category Archives: Strategy

Your Competitors Aren’t Who You Think They Are.

Blackberry Timeline

“Jim, I want you to watch this,” he said, pointing to a webcast of the iPhone unveiling. “They put a full Web browser on that thing. The carriers aren’t letting us put a full browser on our products.”

Mr. Balsillie’s first thought was RIM was losing AT&T as a customer.

“Apple’s got a better deal,” Mr. Balsillie said. “We were never allowed that. The U.S. market is going to be tougher.”

“These guys are really, really good,” Mr. Lazaridis replied. “This is different.”

“It’s OK—we’ll be fine,” Mr. Balsillie responded.

From “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry

  • Blockbuster thought their competitor was Hollywood video.  It was RedBox and Netflix.
  • Blackberry thought their competitors were Nokia and Motorola.  It was Apple.
  • Kroger thought its competitors were Safeway and Publix.  It’s Amazon.
  • GM thinks its competitors are Ford and Chrysler.  It’s Google and Uber.

Technology is advancing and converging at an incredible rate and your competitors aren’t who you think they are anymore.  Those that choose to ignore this will suffer the same fate as some of the former market leaders mentioned above.

Many companies get fat and happy, content with the way they’ve always done business, thinking things will never change. That’s why 88% of the firms in the 1955 Fortune 500 are gone and today, new companies only have a 16 year estimated lifespan.

A company’s best defense against obsolescence is by making themselves obsolete…before someone else does.

Innovate or die.

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