Competitive Dynamics in Technology

As an entrepreneur, aspiring to change the world through new paradigms and opportunities untapped, it can be really scary to truly see the speed at which the world moves.

In mere years, businesses can create billions of dollars, and I can only wonder what the founders felt, what they did and how they thought.

Did they have a fervour for truly fulfilling a customer’s needs? Did they care deeply about their technology? Was it more business chicanery or technological smarts that gave them their great enterprise?

How, could a small company become great, especially in SEA, where regionally speaking, the dynamics between cultures and preferences and modes of business are so varied and complex?

Where you have to face incumbents with decades of experience breaking the market, with deep rooted connections in industry, credibility and trust?

Is the “disruption” perspective truly something that works today, when it’s on the tip of the tongue of every large corporation?

Are software solutions still relevant, when large corporations are hiring major internal development teams? I’ve heard of a government linked corporation with major dollars hiring very reputable engineers and designers in my own country.

How will Venture Capitalists view these issues? Will we truly be able to make it?

Sometimes I feel like this is the normal plight of the entrepreneur. This is business-as-usual. Want to disrupt an industry? Do things different. There will always be incumbents. Corporations like people are always susceptible to fear and scepticism.

There will always be competition. Larger organizations come with their own major problems too. Excessive red tape and slow decision making, and non-investment in the mission.

Startups can be hungry. A team of dedicated, hungry, focused, smart individuals can change the world. With a lazer sharp focus and intensity of purpose, executing an act of creation can be transformed and infused with a magic. Who’s more willing to take more, to be more, to fight harder?

Who’s hungrier? Who’s more determined? Who’s truly caring deeper? Who’s got more to prove? Who’s got more belief in a better world? A deeper integrity to themselves in what they do?

Dedication to performing at their best, to grow, to deliver and to win?

I’m not so sure large corporates would find it easy to replicate and infuse this sense of urgency with the rest of their people. I don’t think this is something that they actually give a shit about, tbh. Oftentimes cultural entropy is, by itself already a difficult thing to defeat in a monolithic organization.

And of course to tie all this together, technology and it’s creation is an artistic endeavour at heart. So many ways to solve a problem, an infinite world of possibility.

Will we do justice to humanity and bring forth a product that truly, deeply changes the world? Or are we going to deliver some bullshit me-too product?

Because in the end, it’s not about the competitors we should give a shit about. Neither is it about the trends. It’s about us expressing our most authentic selves, our deepest values, our highest beings, to truly, deeply blow the customers away.

Because a creative endeavour fraught from the zeitgeist and what has been done before will never birth a new frontier. If Henry Ford looked at the competition, and asked his customers what they wanted, he would have tried to create faster horses.

The market wouldn’t have seen the iPhone coming. They would be happy with the Telegram.

The creators of the me-too world would be okay with going to school, listening in class and never questioning themselves. They would ignore the niggling discomfort, the voice inside that says “something’s kinda wrong”. They would forsake their intuition, deny their creativity, and betray their own self-expression. And conform. And follow the trends.

While the trailblazers build worlds unseen in their heads. Letting their hearts sing, and listening to what’s going on inside. And in that listening to themselves ignore the voices of denial outside. Those voices of fear, voices of “reason”, the paradigm of the old.

I don’t think any great company started great. Their founders wouldn’t have started great. It would have been a world of uncertainty. Any pioneer would know this. Climbing Everest. Building a reusable rocket to Mars. Creating bicycles for the mind. Exploring and building a new future.

They will surely fail. Many times. But they will also surely succeed. If they don’t give up. Because to the pioneers, the renegades, they live for what life could be, should be, and not what it currently is. And are willing to bet themselves on it.

Because deep down inside they sure as hell know that the corporations, the status quo, will not be able to understand what’s going on.

Our History; the History of Humanity — of the known Universe is happening right before our very eyes. Technology and Science is starting to develop a future for us that is limited, literally only by our imagination. On the other hand, humanity is at a precipice, running rampant on ourselves, with a malaise that suffocates our very own existence. Poverty, Sickness, Ecology, Fear and Suffering.

In these electrifying times, will you choose to sit down, bow your head, and be bright and early to the daily races going nowhere, or will you choose to make a stand and forge a path of possibility?

Because worse than the threat of an impending doom, is the passive acceptance of, I am ok. Are you?

I seek to understand. I seek to improve.