Subscription Options

March 18, 2009

The problem with success...

When you are the clear market leader the benefits far exceed cash revenues.

You also get to dictate the rules of the market to some extent. For example, if your company has cornered the market on outsourcing of some form of specialized services. Services that need a human presence and require skills that are both valuable and scarce.

If the market leader lowers their prices, then everybody else has to do the same or face the consequences of losing their already meager market share. 

Power like this tends to blind companies to the threat on their doorsteps. The newspapers controlled the news, and controlled the print advertising business. They were able to dictate pricing, and they got to control what was "news" on any given day.

This blinded them to the perfect storm that Google News, Google Search and Adwords was going to bring.

Exposing them as neither scarce or of value - in fact, it exposed newspapers and the news gathering industry as a commodity business.

Success is probably the worst cause of "the resistance of the old." The tendency to try to ensure that tomorrow continues to look like yesterday. Being the best in the world is a prize worth shooting for, but staying the best is a different ball game.

If you are the best in the world today, or the best in "your world" today. (However that might be defined)
Then you need to think about how you could be displaced. What exactly is going to make you redundant?

SimplyHired has done extremely well with their jobamatic boards for bloggers and website owners. That combined with a function that allows them to aggregate all other jobs on the internet below their paid postings has dealt a slow but sure death blow for and (For example) has opened Pandora's box by ushering in the SaaS revolution. A sea change in software delivery and one that is becoming increasingly popular in the harsh economic climate. (And even further vindicated by Mocrosoft's recent 100,000 seat deal with Glaxo Smith Kline for their online service offering.

How much longer can Google continue to rake in the lions share of online advertising when specialized services like InfoLinks and start to significantly eat into their revenue streams?

If you are the clear leader in your field, whatever that is, then you need to start thinking today about how you can become the thing you fear most.

Because if you can imagine the thing that is going to wipe out your market share, then it is only a matter of time before somebody else sees it too - and they will probably act.