A lot is made of the successes of Uber, Amazon, Apple, Airbnb, and Google.
‘Category Kings’ is what Al Ramadan, Dave Person, Christopher Lochhead, and Kevin Maney would call them in their book Play Bigger.
They crush the competition and become the space with which they helped create. Who searches anymore when you can ‘google’?
Similarly, there are so many lessons from the failures to embrace change at companies such as Blockbuster, Kodak, Borders, Sears, and even Netflix.
Too little, too late.
But what about Charles Schwab or Walgreens?
These organizations have adapted to the changing landscape – multiple times over decades and decades of existence.
Charles Schwab faced the initial idea of internet trading and adjusted. As a result, Charles Schwab continues to meet the challenge of online trading but has made “Chuck” synonymous with investment and retirement planning.
Walgreens faced countless online and offline competitors and has remained on top. Remember drugstore.com was going to crush them? Walgreens bought them. And now, Walgreens is in almost every city in the US with little real competition.
It’s tempting to be drawn to the allure of something new – the bright shiny business object. But what’s even sexier, at least to me, is something old thriving with change. That’s hot!
References and Resources
- This is a great article on Digital Adaptability
- Al Ramadan, Dave Person, Christopher Lochhead, and Kevin Maney – Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets: For more on ‘Category Kings.’
- Jim Collins – Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t: Jim Collins and team studied Walgreens climb in a crowded sector.
- Companies that have excelled in their industries and shaped the markets for which they operate are called “Category Kings.”
- “Newer” Companies like Google and Apple have continuously pushed or created Categories that did not exist prior.
- The internet is also littered with plenty of Organizations that have failed to recognize a new category.
- Equally, there are plenty of success stories from “Old School” Companies that recognized the shift and adapted – like, Charles Schwab embraced internet trading when the place (in every home) and scale (in every country) of the internet was still somewhat uncertain.
- Recognizing change in the industry or environment is critical to an Organization’s success – what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.
Originally posted May 31, 2018