Today’s technical headlines are dominated with the likes of Cisco, Juniper, IBM, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, Intel, Google, Research In Motion, Apple, Dell, SAP, Nokia, and more. The common denominator with all these companies is size; size of their revenue streams, size of their sales forces, size of their channels, size of their bank accounts, size of their checks to Gartner, Forrester, EMA, etc. and more.
Some companies believe in organic growth while others prefer inorganic growth through large and small acquisitions. Some spend time winning and keeping customers happy while others would rather spend money on fancy marketing campaigns. Some have grown so large that they compete with themselves while others seem lost defending tired old positions and ideas. Some have executives that are the envy of the industry while others are saddled with executives born out of the dot com boom.
We have lived through HDLC, X.25, Banyon Vines, Frame Relay, ATM, Token Ring, Twin-X, give way to Ethernet, Wireless, MPLS, and more. We’ve lived through the wars between OS/2 and Windows, Active Directory vs. Novel Directory Services, Word Perfect vs. Word, Cisco vs. Motorola, Palm vs. RIM, Inktomi vs Google, and more. We saw RISC vs CISC, Unix vs Linux, Mainframe vs. Servers, Distributed Computing vs Datacenters, Mainframes vs. servers acting as mainframes, Virtualization vs. everything, and more.
While we have come so far, we have so much further to go. While the Internet has become a nice to have to a must have, it remains slow, unsecured, and unreliable. While TCP/IP binds us together, it has created a new wild west for criminals and electronic warfare. While we cannot live without our mobile phones, we can’t drive across town or enter our homes without the connection dropping. While everyone’s memories are electronic, data back-up remains cumbersome and an afterthought. While we crave open standards, we are saddled with proprietary operating systems and applications that stifle innovation and choice.
To the large companies, trash the Innovator’s Dilemma and innovate your respective industries. Don’t be afraid of change, embrace it (and I’m not talking about reorganization!) To the small companies, disrupt with technology and business models. Don’t be afraid of the large companies and carve out your niches. To the start-ups, go for it!
Don’t believe the naysayers whether they be analysts, VCs, or “friends” and believe in yourselves.
Here’s to innovation, disruption, and the bright future of technology!