I want to more fully explain the concept of Strategic Inflection Points. I have referred to this topic in my Week 5 and Week 11 update videos. Former Intel CEO Andy Grove first described a strategic inflection point as a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end. An inflection point can be the result of an action taken by a company or an action taken by another entity. An excellent recent example may be Facebook’s announced intention to enter the cryptocurrency market. The markets have already reacted sharply to Facebook’s move. Analysts have suggested that it may significantly alter the forecasts for cryptocurrencies. Change is inevitable and change is happening more rapidly than ever. Adaptation to change is imperative for corporate survival.
NOTE: My original post, originally published in January 2013, continues to be one of the most viewed on the site. Android and Apple have enjoyed an estimated 98% market share between the two, and many of my earlier projections regarding this market appear to have been borne out. However, the smartphone market has now matured to the point that it is at a strategic inflection point which has major implications for the future of this market and the major competitors. The rapid maturation of the smartphone market should have been foreseen: the rise of domestic Chinese competition combined with the predictable end of the Western consumer fascination with “the next smartphone”
LinkedIn shares yesterday plummeted precipitously after the company announced poorer than expected results, and downgraded prospects for the remainder of the year. Looking beyond the downgraded forecast and the costs associated with the $1.5 Billion acquisition of lynda.com, some analysts scrutinizing the press release, noted that there was no growth reported in the user base of “over 350 million users”, despite moves into China and other markets. Premium user revenue grew significantly but that did not come near to offsetting the total revenue number. Revenue and number of users are the two numbers followed most closely by investment analysts.
LinkedIn’s recent acquisitions have been noted as a LinkedIn strategy for compensating for flat overall user growth, and for diversifying into new markets to augment growth.
Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School are adopting drastically different strategies for delivering business education. These differing strategies are reflected in the debate that has erupted between two of Harvard Business School’s best known professors and their visions for the future of business education, Michael Porter and Clayton Christensen. I have also been personally tire kicking MOOC’s, acting as a mentor for Stanford’s online Technology Entrepreneurship course, hosted by NovoEd. I have been pleasantly surprised by the experience, and among the teams I am mentoring is a group of Xerox senior research scientists acting as an entrepreneurial team.
This is another on my series on industry analysis. The recent University of Ottawa study on the demise of Nortel Networks, tells us what many of us already knew. The most important constructive criticism of this study is that it should have been done years ago. The Nortel collapse was followed by a surprisingly similar scenario at RIM, now Blackberry. Mike Lazaridis, who served as RIM’s co-CEO along with Jim Balsillie until January, 2012, are generally considered to have failed to respond adequately to the market encroachments of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android phones, as Blackberry’s market share plummeted. I recently showed my undergrad and graduate strategy students a video of a Charlie Rose interview with John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems. Chambers emphasized the acceleration of the Adizes corporate life cycle, in many cases to less than ten years, and the need for constant reinvention to survive in this challenging and rapidly changingnew world.
As if to underscore my previous posts on the extraordinary rapidity of disruptive change for the utility industry, This is turning out to be potentially more significant than the smart mobile phone revolution. Issues here include the utility industry’s failure to recognize a strategic change caused by disruptive technological change, and to respond to it, and the rapid acceleration in Adizes’ corporate life cycle model. Citibank is now predicting severe consequences for utility companies if they do not grasp the massive changes confronting them.
In his book, Only The Paranoid Survive, Andy Grove, former CEO and Chairman of Intel describes a “strategic […]