Friday, July 8, 2011

About industry dominance and taking a different perspective

At the start of this millennium, the mobile handset industry was dominated by Nokia (in the emerging consumer markets) and RIM, the Blackberry maker (in the corporate markets). In contrast, at about the same time, computer maker, Apple, and search engine, Google, didn’t even have a presence in the mobile market. If you would like to draw parallels, Nokia and RIM were like SAP and Oracle, the behemoths of the enterprise packaged software industry.

Probably at the beginning of this millennium, it was unlikely that anyone at Nokia and RIM even imagined that their dominance might be challenged, let alone their existence questioned. While Nokia and RIM were content with their own world, Apple and Google, were working to create a new industry, which would later get called as the ‘Post-PC devices’ industry. Both Apple and Google were seeing mobile technology in a different perspective – mobile as not just a communication device but as a platform for inconspicuous and ubiquitous applications - a perspective which someone at Nokia or RIM would have only considered impractical.

Today, Apple and Google, together enjoy a fast-increasing and large market share in the mobile market. Both these companies are now valued among some of the largest companies in the world – at valuations Nokia and RIM could never even have dreamed about.

Can the industry change so much in less than 10 years, well within someone’s career span? Why did such a big difference happen? The only answer – someone chose to see things in a different perspective. Who knows may be your company would be the next Apple or Google in your own industry and turn the tables on the existing behemoths. May be you could take such lead in your company and be rewarded. So, let’s not feel shy in thinking different! In Steve Jobs words - Stay foolish, stay hungry!