Geoffrey Moore is the author of the classic book on Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, Crossing the Chasm, and now a number of other great books. I first met Geoff when he was working for Regis McKenna, Intel’s legendary PR guru in the early years. I think of Geoff as one of the best marketing minds in high tech. I strongly recommend that my UBC Faculty of Management entrepreneurship students follow Geoff on LinkedIn. In the piece below, Geoff argues for a resurgence of Big Ideas in IT, and for us to stop wasting time with low end consumer markets (translation=”already way too many apps for that!”). I had forgotten the Steve Jobs quote at the very end. Priceless!
Geoff is also a great public speaker. His use of humour is one of his greatest assets, as he makes important points. See him on YouTube as well. This short excerpt of Geoff is from the Stanford eCorner site.
Reblogged from LinkedIn
Follow Geoffrey Moore on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter
The Tide Has Turned
It is a fool’s errand to call the top of anything in an investment context, so please keep my cap and bells ready to hand. But there are all kinds of signals these days that the consumer IT boom has peaked, not the least of which was the deep fog of underwhelm that settled across the latest CES in Las Vegas. Add to that Apple down 30% from its highs, Google tracking pretty much to the NASDAQ, Facebook working its way back to its IPO price, Zynga 50% under water, and you see what I mean.
Obviously this was to be expected. Nothing goes up forever except analyst extrapolations to justify a BUY stock rating. And no one should think about a retreat from our universal conversion to all things digital. Instead, they should turn their eyes to the enterprise.
2013, in my view, will be the first of five to seven very productive years for IT vendors serving the enterprise, as sector after sector in our economy and around the world capitulates to digital transformation. Retail is in the chute at present, following a path already trod by financial services, media, advertising, travel and leisure, Telco, and high tech. Automotive is right behind, and consumer packaged goods is on deck. But the really big plays will come from the social services sector—education, state and local government, and health care. Here, by one means or another, there will be a breakthrough in the “hostage crisis” that holds an entire nation in check to preserve legacy interests in each profession. There is simply not enough money and not enough trained professionals to stay the current course.
IT makes its money by releasing trapped value and enabling next-generation value add. Social services represent a “target rich” opportunity for both. Some of this will come from the public coffers, some from private enterprise, but either way the returns on IT investment will be compelling. At the low end, they will come from automating and commoditizing services that today are provided manually or in person, often by fiat of regulation or labor contract. This will free up time, talent, and management attention to attack the middle of the price-performance curve, where productivity gains translate into better faster deployment of routine but high-value interactions, typically one on one, whether that be in teaching, patient care, or citizen services. And at the high end, we will continue venture style investments, again both public and private, to exploit the amazing powers of big data analytics, massive simulations, social networking, and mobile applications, seeking out new trends, new levers, and new therapies.
In all these areas, as we have argued at length elsewhere, systems of engagement will take precedence of systems of record. But as many have pointed out, it actually requires a synthesis of the two to deliver on the promises made above. And that will take talent. And that is what is out of position at the present moment. Too much talent is still hanging out at the consumer IT water holes—time to migrate over to the enterprise side, whether that be to boutique consultancies specializing in the new IT, or next-generation services teams within established IT vendors, or pockets of enlightenment in enterprise IT organizations themselves. Regardless of the venue, the user experience design challenges will be just as demanding as on the consumer side, and the societal returns will be much, much higher.
In 1986, Steve Jobs famously challenged John Sculley, asking him if he wanted to keep on making sugar water or help Apple change the world. While that did not quite work out the way either of them intended, the challenge itself still holds. Do you want to spend your next decade developing more digital distractions to amuse people while they stand in line at Starbuck’s, or do you want to take the human race to the next plateau?
That’s what I think. What do you think?
Follow Geoff here….