Internet Trends 2012 by Mary Meeker
The next big thing will start out looking like a toy
'A majority of the top internet companies a decade ago are barely in existence today. How did this happen? These companies weren’t complacent – they were run by smart executives who were constantly aware that they could lose their lead.
The reason big new things sneak by incumbents is that the next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a toy. This is one of the main insights of Clay Christensen’s “disruptive technology” theory, which has been widely studied but I think is still rarely applied because it is so counter-intuitive to conventional management practices.
Disruptive technologies are dismissed as toys because when they are first launched they “undershoot” their users’ needs. The first telephone could only carry voices a mile or two. The leading incumbent of the time, Western Union, chose not to acquire telephone technology because they didn’t see how it could be useful to businesses and railroads – their best customers. What they failed to anticipate was how rapidly telephone technology and infrastructure would improve. The same was true of how mainframe companies viewed the PC, and how modern telecom companies viewed Skype.
The list of top internet companies in 10 years will look very different than that same list does today. And the new ones on the list will be companies that snuck by the incumbents because people dismissed them as toys.’
— Chris Dixon
Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2011:
Louis Vuitton launches “Amble,” a travel app that brings to mind this Eric Schmidt quote: “We are at the point where, between the geolocation capability of the phone and the power of the phone’s browser platform, it is possible to deliver personalized information about where you are, what you could do there right now, and so forth—and to deliver such a service at scale.”
Alexei & Partners is a boutique consultancy founded by Vikram Alexei Kansara. Vikram works with the world's leading fashion brands, media companies and agencies to deliver breakthrough strategic thinking for today's digital reality.