“Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.”Larry Page
In the quote above, Larry Page, co-founder of Google, noted that many companies do not succeed over time, simply because they miss the future.
By missing the future, he means to say that they fail to see and follow trends.
From experience, I know that this wise observation affects both companies and individuals as well.
Let me give you an example:
In 1980, IBM met a very young software programmer called Bill Gates and wanted him to help develop software for their new personal computer. IBM believed that the personal computer was a toy for the rich and in fact, the chairman, Thomas Watson, once said that there is a market for maybe five computers in the world!
As of that time, IBM was the most powerful American tech company, and set the corporate standard for other companies.
But the young Bill Gates saw the future very differently. He believed that once the computer can be made small and interactive, every home will want to have one. He believed so much in this future, that his company’s vision was “A computer on every desk, in every home”
Because IBM was not seeing the future clearly, they made a very bad business decision. Bill Gates refused to sell out his software completely to IBM, instead, he preferred to give them the software, and receive royalty for every software installed in each computer.
He also insisted that IBM add a clause in the agreement, that will allow him to sell the same software to other PC manufacturers.
To IBM, this was just too good to be true, because they didn’t see that the computer market was going to explode. So they thought the young Bill Gates actually made a very terrible mistake by not selling out the software outright, and collecting a huge cash upfront.
They were wrong.
Within 10 years, this deal created the world’s richest man, and the tiny Bill Gates’s company MICROSOFT, has grown rapidly to overshadow IBM, both in wealth and influence. IBM never regained its lost glory, and eventually had to sell its PC business to china’s LENOVO
Bill Gates saw the future more clearly, and although he wasn’t the smartest guy in the room, his accurate prediction led to his gargantuan success.
Like I said, inability to predict the future, has consequences not only for companies, but also for individuals.
Many people rush into the university, without thinking about the kind of job that will be available in the next 10 years, due to rapid advance in technology.
This is why a lot of graduates are completely useless in the labour market.
How do you expect a modern company to employ you, if you are not conversant with computers?
Apart from career people, many entrepreneurs also fail because they are not following the trend.
If you are a small business owner, and you do not have digital marketing skills, you are probably preparing for business frustration. Do you think today’s smartphone loving customer, have the time to walk from shop to shop looking for you, when they can simply check what they want online?
The future is changing rapidly, and if you refuse to adapt, you will simply go the way of dinosaurs.
Many times, your success do not depend just on your level of hardwork and your intelligence, NO, you also need to be working on the current trend and what the market wants.
So, take a hard look at your business, and try to figure out where it is heading in the next 10 years. Equip yourself with the right skills for the future and make your business future-proof.
Have a great day
Engr Emma Okoro
Improving every life through applicable learning