How To Plan Your Company's End Game

Encyclopaedia Britannica, the 244-year-old company, recently announced it would stop printing encyclopedias. Of course this triggered a flurry of talk about the end of printed books, magazines, and newspapers and a once-great company humbled by shifts in technology. But to fall into that narrative is to miss the greatest lesson of the story. Innovating, creating something new, playing the beginning of the game is the easy part. Britannica offers us invaluable insight into the much harder half of the innovation process: how to play the end game.You see, every game--chess, tennis, business--has an end. Every business will eventually die. We cannot escape this inevitability. Yet we hold on to the fantasy that somehow OUR company will be different, that our company is “built to last.” The key to long life in business is knowing how to play the end game so that you can position yourself to play the next game. Britannica seems to be doing that well.The Wi-Fi PatternTo understand what is going on here, think about Wi-Fi (wireless Internet) service. Ten years ago when you walked into a Starbucks you had to pay for Wi-Fi access. Now you get it for free. If something doesn’t cost anything to provide, eventually someone will give it away for free. Or as an economist would say, over the long run, the market price of any competitive product or service reaches its margin cost.Wikipedia has proven that there are lots of smart people out there who are willing to write content for free.... Continue reading at 'Fast Company'

[ Fast Company | 2012-03-20 00:00:00 UTC ]
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