We are talking about transformation of a company from well known to unknown. What can drive that change?
There are 2 well known drivers that I am familiar with myself: passion and pain.
When we fall in love, we are able to transform, no matter what the rest of the world says to us.
Steve Jobs didn’t invent iPhone because there was a need on the market and customers felt a sudden need for a touch based media player with some phone capabilities. He fell in love with this idea no matter how crazy it seemed at the time. Do you remember how Nokia reacted to the first iPhone announcement?
I’ve transformed myself quite a few times during my life. After graduating high school I went into the university to study Hindi philology. Why? Because I wanted to hike in the Himalayas and it seemed to me that it was a major that would bring me closest to the Himalaya Mountains. I fell in love with the high mountains and that passion drove me to make choices, that now I see as crazy decisions.
When people are in pain they are looking to change something as well, to change the circumstances, to change the unbearable feeling. There are many examples when pain is the powerful tool that drives the transformation.
The business in its usual form doesn’t prove to be too successful any more. We as IBM-ers realize this more than others – and it’s a painful knowledge. We need to undergo a change. We can be either disrupted or we can disrupt. Such companies like Spotify and Netflix changed our perception of media industry (music, television). Spotify offers music for free with advertisement from time to time, or without ads if we will pay small monthly fee.
To listen music in the old fashioned ways we can buy 1 CD that costs more than monthly fee on Spotify. Still we could only listen to CDs we already bought. Or we can watch music on payable TV channels but with advertisements. Than we have no choice what we’re listening to. Why should we spend more money on this?
Suggesting to Universal Music Group to share music for free 10 years ago seemed to be crazy idea. They would no listen to nobody. And it is extremely painful time for music industry now. For small Swedish startup it was a passion for new ways of accessing music. The UMG was established in early years of XX century, and it is worth now after its more than hundred years about 8b $ comparing to the Spotify which was launched in late 2008 and has currently more than 50 mln users, with 4b $ value.
As consumers we would like to have a choice, an access. We don’t need ownership anymore. An access is enough as long as we have it when and where we want it. And it doesn’t mean that people want to have everything for free. Consumers are happy to pay for things that are valuable to them. The Netflix is another very good example of that trend.
There is no space for monopoly in the new digital economy. The global ecosystem is more and more interdependent.
New business models, based on API concept, need to be introduced. Some assumptions ought to be revised.
And it is usually better to feel a passion then a pain.