How the Mighty Fall

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

How the Mighty Fall

When I look at the fall of Nortel (and Alcatel-Lucent) as well as banking giants, Circuit City, GM, and more, I have to ask, "What happened?"  In his new book, How the Mighty Fall, Jim Collins writes about how once great companies have declined. Collins goes over the summary in Business Week where he identifies five stages of decline. Nortel came to mind as I was reading it but so did Lucent.

The whole situation is best exemplified by the music industry and newspapers. They didn't want to change - couldn't see the writing on the wall. Each was stuck in a revenue model that was supposed to work forever - and never bothered to examine a Plan B. Are you certain that you are not doing that?

In his book, Marketing Outrageously, Jon Spoelstra asks, "What business are you in?" Specifically, he talks about both railroads and Smith Corona. Railroads didn't realize they were in the people transport business, so missed out on becoming the airlines. Smith Corona thought they were in the typewriter business, when actually they were in the word publishing business. They missed the PC age.  NCR and the cash register business was another one that came to mind.

Do you think you are in the VOIP, UC, or SAAS business? Think again. You are in the Reliable Application Delivery game or the Reliable Communications Platform moreso. And you better not forget it or fail.

Xerox is the example that Collins cites in the Business Week article of a company that was in a death spiral, but the CEO pulled them out. Kodak is another.  Don't you see comparisons to Qwest, Level3, Global Crossing and XO in these stories? I do. It's not about pipe size or bytes or telecom. It's about the ability for a business to reliably get information, database access, and connect and interact with partners, employees, customers and prospects. It's like a car: no one cares how it works, just that it does when the ignition is turned on.

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