A Touchy Subject – Final (by Mark St.Cyr)

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To say everything is changing at breakneck speed would be an
understatement. Not only have the products, their cycles, finance,
markets, fads, heroes, and more changed. It’s also the driving forces
behind them that has also changed.

For some of us what we might think (or once thought) were drivers
have been replaced almost as quick as the changes in the products
themselves. And that is the reason why I truly started down this path
with p–n being my first example. Just the mention of the word gets the
attention of many. (or most)

Being an entrepreneur of any stripe whether you own your business or
just working and living through the vantage of an entrepreneurial
mindset. One thing is certain: You just can’t look at the world of
business and it’s drivers through the same lens as the masses. It’s
inherent upon you to not only envision what’s moving or pushing a
market. It’s just as important to what will sustain a market. Any
market. Buttressed with; is what everyone thinks is “the market”
actually “the market?”

The vast majority of people (or consumers) believe they have a pretty
good handle on what is driving any product or service at any moment in
its cycle. Primarily it revolves around the notion that “they” are the
driver. Anyone serious about understanding markets (all markets) knows
the last person who understands what’s driving a market is the very
customer themselves. That’s why people like Steve Jobs stood out as a
visionary. They understand this at the gut level.

They’ll assume this, that, or the other thing when in effect it’s
only on par with grasping at straws. However, the very reason this
understanding is so important is this: “They” are nearly every single
person you’ll ever meet, hang out with, work for, or marry.

Remembering that its solely up to you to look for answers even in the
least likely of places is again imperative for any entrepreneur.

So why is this topic so damned important? Well here’s a few last points to ponder that hopefully rounds this all out.

In part one
I opened the discussion up about Google® and the implications of its
new policy concerning p–n. And why does this matter? What’s the driver?
Is it a preemptive change for fear of future government edicts?
Censorship? Or could the rationality be a marketing ploy as to out
maneuver Apple® in its dominant stance against p–n. And why would
something like that even matter?

I’m using Apple as an example only because it entails so much of what
I’m trying to express. (Not because I believe or want the examples

Forget Apples stock price. For all intents and purposes Apples last
quarter results were not amazing. They were staggering. However for this
discussion I want to zoom in on just 2 things that far too many gave
not a hint of interest.

Remember that foolish product met with snickers? The Mini™. Well it
sold so well they couldn’t produce enough to satisfy orders. You would
think they would take a lesson from Microsoft and produce enough – but
not sell enough to even create a buzz. Let alone be witness to one
actually being used by someone in real life. Except for product
placement on television; I have yet to witness someone using one as of
this writing.

Another amazing factoid is the blowout sales numbers of the iPad
(another product met with snickers) and those very sales were dominated
by people 50+. You know what the over 50+ crowd does that the under 45
crowd rarely does? They BUY things.

Yes, they actually purchase rather than looking high, low, or
anywhere else as a way to get it for free. So if you think Apple; you
think of people who spend actual money. If you think Google; you think
people who want it free first – if not free only. And there lies the

Sure Google has search and yes they have the Android®. However,
unless you’re Google or Android versed; navigating is not only laborious
– its pathetic. (sorry not trying to be insulting I’m just stating my
opinion as a former everything PC user) You feel like you need to be a
computer programmer to use it properly.

Personally I was a PC person all my adult life. Both in personal use
as well as business and could navigate issues pretty well when they
occurred. (which was far too often) So when my mother-in law asked me to
help her with what seemed as a simple issue she was having on her
Android phone I said “sure no problem.”

What a freaking headache I acquired. In the end she needed to go to
the store where she purchased it as to get the settings to work
properly. (It was with her mail – I mean – MAIL!) Neither of us could
figure out what or why it wouldn’t sync properly. This is not supposed
to be rocket science. All she kept asking my wife was: “Did you have
this issue Apple?” Her answer: “No.” You could feel her frustration
knowing she couldn’t use her new gizmo. (Her younger son recommended it
over my suggestion. Oh well…)

So, if iPads are shaping up to be the dominant PC replacement for the
50+ segment. And, this segment not only has more money to spend – and a
willingness to spend it. What changes if any could possibly transform a
market in ways we may not be aware of currently? Could television alone
move beyond what we now know into something far different?  (not
withstanding the breathless anticipation of “analysts” hopes and dreams
for anything Apple into this marketplace)

Remember, this segment has more money – there’s more of them – and, they are willing to PAY
for something if it’s something they want. If you think I’m using
hyperbole here just look at what is being heralded as a coup in the
television marketplace with Amazon® acquiring the rights to the current
blockbuster television series Downton Abbey. Welcome valued – I mean
“Prime™” customers!

They also know what they don’t want. They don’t want p–n being thrown
in their faces when they’re not expecting it. And Apple has kept a
vigilant stance from allowing it to seep into its ecosystem. (Here’s a
link to an article on Pandodaily™ by Nathaniel Mott for some context)

So here’s a market changing mother of an impact statement any
entrepreneur should always have ready to ask and answer if they’re
serious about business:

  • You want one customer that will spend $100 a year with you? Or 1000
    that wont part with a nickel and will leave you even quicker if you dare
    charge even a penny for what ever your offering is?

That question alone is not only worth contemplating; it’s the only question that will matter in the coming future.

Yes Google has search, but here’s what I say: So what?

They are the dominant player currently however, you don’t need to buy
– go out and rent, purchase, or anything to replace it. If Google said
tomorrow we’re turning off our servers or, going to now charge some form
of an access fee (this is a thought experiment so save the emails
saying they couldn’t) what would you do?

Oh yeah; click on Bing®.

I hope you’re starting to see my point. And, if it’s that easy for
something so profound as what Google did to the Yellow Pages® in such
short order. Why couldn’t a shift of millions upon millions of users
find Google itself irrelevant because on their iPad, as their using it
to control their TV’s; Bing comes up first? Not Google. Just think about
that for a few moments along with all its possible implications down
the chain. We’re not talking anything small here.

Does it matter anymore what engine you’re using? Oh, and by the way –
doesn’t Microsoft® have more of a ventured stake in Apple than it does
with anything Google? Again, what happens if Microsoft implements more
Apple into its user face of products and services rather than trying to
fix the now shaky (or possible disaster) Surface®? If Microsoft is using
its excess reserves in ways to create revenue other than in-house
development. (They’re acting as a bank in the Dell® going private deal.)
Who’s to say they don’t deploy other monies in concert with Apple as to
acquire other markets unknown or unforeseen in ways we look at today?

Could Google end up in the end only being a verb of its former self?
Again – who knows, but one has to think about implications that the
masses don’t. Remember, iPad’s are still selling by the MILLIONS and to
whom is the dominant buyer?

That’s why I started this conversation. That’s what an entrepreneur
does. To paraphrase Wayne Gretzky: “It’s anticipating where the puck
will go – not just where it is.”

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr   www.MarkStCyr.com

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