Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tata Nano Watch: Look for the No-Names

Oren Harari has a thought-provoking post on the danger of overlooking lesser-known competitors. An excerpt:

John then walked over to the far white board, at the corner, and tapped it. “See these 20 companies? We listed them almost as an afterthought. We’re not paying any attention to them in this meeting because they’re not impacting our financials. Yet. Most of them are little companies that some of us have never heard of. Most of them are privately held. Some of them are Chinese and Indian. A couple are from eastern Europe. A couple are divisions in larger companies that have never played in our industry. But these 20 companies are the ones we ought to be spending our time on, because they all have one thing in common: They’re all toying around with changing the rules of the game. They’re playing with fundamentally new technologies, new market niches, new services, new supply and distribution chains—even new business models entirely. At this point, they don’t have much scale or reach. They may not even have much capitalization. But for some of them, that will all change. We need to put on the glasses they’re wearing. We need to look at the marketplace and our business the way they do. They’re giving us clues as to where our future competition will be. And if we don’t confront these issues right away, all our fame and fortune today won’t be enough to sustain our position tomorrow.”

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