Google and Apple – Burn the Box

I’ve written about Adam’s ideas before – and his book: ” Create Marketplace Disruption”.

As we look for companies that will lead in a post-recession era, here are two we should watch. Google & Apple.  Just thinking about these companies creates the image of excitement – innovators – companies that are transforming the world as we know it.   Are you planning for the future (Preparing for Rain) or are you hiding hoping to survive?

Now is the time – to “Burn The Box” – get out of the Defend & Extend mentality – Attack & Explore  – so when the recession lifts – YOU will be the leader which others who locked down spending too far will struggle to catch up.   Yes recession is scary.  Yes you have to ensure you can sustain your business during these market conditions.  However – as Marshall Field’s did – during weak economic times – this is the best time to buy.  When the economy lifts (it’s coming) you will make more margin and profits on those goods as the market recovers.   And you will have goods / skills that others don’t – YOU will be the leader and in theory able to charge a premium for your leadership (risk).

Two excerpts from Adam’s site with specific links below:


Google is unlike GM in that

  1. it has looked into the future and recognizes that Windows has many obstacles to operating effictively in a widely connected world.  Future scenarios show that alternative products can make a significant difference in the user experience, and even though a company currently dominates the opportunity exists to Disrupt the marketplace;
  2. Google remains focused on competitors, not just customers.  Instead of talking to customers, who would ask for better search and ad placement improvements, Google has observed alternative, competitive operating system products, like Unix and Linux, making headway in both servers and the new netbooks.  While still small share, these products are proving adept at helping people do what they want with small computers and these customers are not switching to Windows;
  3. Google is not afraid to Disrupt its operations to consider doing something new.  It is not focused on doing one thing, and doing it right.  Instead open to bringing to market new technologies rapidly when they can Disrupt a market; and
  4. Google uses extensive White Space to test new solutions and learn what is needed in the product, distribution, pricing and promotion.  Google gives new teams the permission and resources to investigate how to succeed – rather than following a predetermined path toward an internally set goal (like GM did with its failed electric car project).

Nobody today wants to be like GM.  Struggling to turn around after falling into bankruptcy.  To be like Google you need to quit following old ideas about focusing on your core and entry barriers – instead develop scenarios about the future, study competitors for early market insights, Disrupt your practices so you can do new things and test lots of ideas in White Space to find out what the market really wants so you can continue growing.



Apple – Exceeds expectations by 33 to 50%!

For the last few years Apple has done quite well.  Resurgent from a near collapse as an also-ran producer of niche computers, Apple became much more as it succeeded with the iPod, iTunes and iPhone.  But many analysts, business news pundits and investors wanted all the credit to go to CEO Steve Jobs.  It’s popular to use the “CEO as hero” thinking, and say Steve Jobs singlehandedly saved Apple.  But, as talented as Steve Jobs is, we all know that there are a lot of very talented people at Apple and it was Mr. Jobs willingness to Disrupt the old Success Formula and implement White Space which let that talent come out that really turned around Apple.  The question remained, however, whether Disruptions and White Space were embedded, or only happening as long as Mr. Jobs ran the show.  And largely due to this question, the stock price tumbled and people grew anxious when he took medical leave (chart here).

This weekend we learned that yes, Mr. Jobs has been very sick.  The Wall Street Journal today reported “Jobs had liver transplant“.   With this confirmation, we know that the company has been run by the COO Tim Cook and not a “shadow” Mr. Jobs.  Simultaneously, first report on the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal is “Apple Claims 1M iPhone Sales” last weekend in the launch of its new 3G S mobile phone and operating system.  This is a huge number by the measure of any company, exceeded analysts expectations by 33-50%, and equals the last weekend launch of a new model – despite the currently horrible economy.  This performance indicates that Apple is building a company that can survive Mr. Jobs.



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