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For the entrepreneur, the sense of boundless possibility that comes with the introduction of a new toolset is an intoxicant. Able to "see" the next generation of work, she diligently places boundaries around the possibilities to harness them. Depending on their personal gifts, access to the market, resources and gritty determination, entrepreneurs all experience a similar reality. Their core insights range from powerful to insignificant but the reality feels like a fast ride in a fast convertible.
Entrepreneurs are rarely the people who shape the enduring impact of their ideas. At a certain stage of growth, the company becomes a problem better managed by a seasoned executive. There are numerous intersections that drive the shift from entrepreneurial to process management. Ultimately, however, the change in leadership is about gluing the company to the needs of paying customers. This change moves vision into a secondary position behind the satisfaction of customer needs.
Late adopters, the bulk of the buying market, don't like fast rides in convertibles.
These second stage managers drive the risk out of the purchasing decision. The danger, always, is that they drive the innovation out of the company. Generally speaking, the arrival of second stage managers is the indication that a major technical innovation is just around the corner. The survival question boils down to "Can the new CEO remove risk from the sale while continuing to add real technology improvements?"
This evolutionary pattern means that, at times like we face today, there are a range of relatively secure products in the marketplace just as new technical answers are exploding on the scene. Over the next six months, we expect to see the emergence of a rash of services that claim smallness, intimacy, effectiveness and 'edge' while comparing themselves to providers who were edgy just five years ago.
From a purchasing perspective, all of the real 'bang' from new technology accrues to the early adopters. By the time the market is the point we see today, the real gains are gone from the old products. Purchasing boils down to staying competitive. The productivity gains will belong to the new stuff, as usual.- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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