Category Archives: The New Instability

The Enterprise of Tomorrow

David Glideh gave a talk at Unsexy Startups in London on the future of the enterprise, building on an using some of the key themes in the book. The video is embedded below.

Cloud, globalisation and social tools are changing the way Enterprises operate. Enterprises are going to be revolutionised and look extremely different in the future. How that looks will drive the success of new start-ups in the Enterprise space.

David Gildeh was Founder/CEO of SambaStream, an online collaboration tool for SMEs, which was acquired by Alfresco in 2011, the worlds leading open-source Enterprise Content Management system, where he currently leads their new Cloud business.

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act

OODA: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act
OODA: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act

It seems that I’ve shared this with four or five different groups of people over the last couple of weeks, so I thought it worthwhile putting it on the blog. Plus this is one of those instances where the Wikipedia page is not the best launching point.

Anyway, OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act){{1}}, shown above, is a learning framework created by John Boyd{{2}}.

[[1]]John Boyd, The OODA LOOP, The Essence of Winning and Losing, slide 4 @ danford.net[[1]]

[[2]]A John Boyd Biography @ danford.net[[2]]

Colonel Boyd was an interesting bloke who had a huge influence on military tactics. One of his key insights was that success in a rapidly changing environment depends on your ability to adapt to the environment as it changes about you. The successful army is the one that can adapt as the world changes around it, and not necessarily the army with more resources at its disposal. This is interesting as the evidence is in and it shows that – for the vast majority of businesses – your competitors have very little influence on your success or failure; the largest factor is your ability to adapt and stay relevant as the market changes around you. Think Nokia, RIM and the iPhone. Or think in terms of high speed rail and point-to-point buses vs. discount air travel in Europe. The complication here is that today’s environment is changing so rapidly that your art – your product – might only have a shelf life of six months or so.

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David has the edge on Goliath

David returns triumphant with the head of Goliath (Palazzo Ferrari, Genoa)
David returns triumphant with the head of Goliath (Palazzo Ferrari, Genoa)

Is success in business due to luck or hard work? It used to be that if you worked hard and invested astutely in your business that you could expect to be rewarded. Build it and they will come. Times have changed though, and more and more often it seems that all that hard work goes to waste when an unknown (and previously unseen) competitor emerges from nowhere to steal the market from under your nose. Success has become random with the business environment perpetually unstable and in constant flux. The market is hit-driven rather than being based on careful investment. Success now depends on coming up with the right product at the right time, and having a fairly large dose of luck. Business development used to mean investing in your business and building up the assets under its control. Now it means maximising your business’s luck (or minimising the luck of others).

Continue reading David has the edge on Goliath

Dynamic pricing and the race to the bottom

I see that online retailers have been admiring the yield management techniques used by airlines and hotels{{1}}. After all, what’s not to like about profit maximisation? Consumer goods, however, are not a time sensitive resource who’s value crashes to zero after a particular date. Online retailers might just be starting an arms war with customers that they cannot win. The result will be a race to the bottom as mounting pressure compresses already tight margins.

[[1]]Brian Proffitt (September 2012), How much will it cost you? With Dynamic Pricing, online sellers say ‘It depends’.., ReadWriteWeb[[1]]

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My book, ‘The New Instability’, is finally available

Cover of The New InstabilityAfter much effort my book, ‘The New Instability’, has finally found its way through the channel and is now available as a paperback, ePub (iPad, Nook) and mobi (Kindle).

The nutshell summary:

The uncertain economic and business condition is not simply a passing phase, a confluence of technology is changing the how the business environment and old business models and strategies built around acquiring and leveraging assets are breaking down. A new generation of companies are rethinking how business should operate and discovering business models that are orders of magnitude more efficient than the previous lot. How have they done this? And how can how do it?

It you would like to know more then you can find an extract from the book on the ‘Extract’ page on the book’s web site.

You can buy it as:

I’ll update the ‘Where to buy’ page as it finds it’s way out into the wild.

What recession?

The global financial crisis hit nearly four years ago in 2008 but America and Europe appear to still be stuck in the mud. Even the Asian market has softened. But is this a recession? Or are we seeing a reconfiguration of the economy as the technological seeds laid over the last few generations finally germinated and bear fruit? Prices for made goods are collapsing as the cost of manufacturing has plummeted, while the cost of sourcing and distribution has crashed, caught between globalisation and the Internet. Even innovation, the source of all those sexy new products, has been democratised with the investment required to development new products taking a nosedive. Our existing business models were not designed to thrive, or even survive, this this environment. While the current market is a challenge to navigate, a lot of the problems we're seeing could be result of a collapse of antiquated business models rather than the collapse in demand that these businesses are intended to service.

Continue reading What recession?