The Vader Syndrome

There are some very interesting threads developing in our little online world. In a market that worships and rewards dominance, having too much power and acting accordingly is becoming increasingly newsworthy. If you can remember back that far, giants like IBM, Xerox and Kodak were regarded as unimpeachable and unstoppable…and in most cases became bloated evil empires frequently accused of anti-competitive practices and arrogance. Some argue that the transition from the smartest guys in the room to evil empire marks the decline. Each of them missed several major market changes and their death stars fell accordingly.

More recently, Microsoft became dominant, then bloated, then evil. Apple, who has historically been the cool underdog, has risen to fabulous new heights and is now facing accusations of price fixing for eBooks. It’s particularly ironic that the Feds are using Jobs own words (in his recent biography) against him. Yahoo lost market focus and essentially imploded. MySpace went from cool hangout to ad-slathered dropout. Even Google, the once fluffy bright-eyed and bushy-tailed darling of technology has fallen foul of the feds and multiple foreign governments concerned with breeches in privacy and monopolistic behavior.

If there are two underlining threads tying these disparate companies together, they seem to be contact and arrogance. As success grows, they become larger, more bureaucratic and less in touch with the markets that shaped them.

Similarly, as their market position strengthens they tend to believe the market will follow them as opposed to vice versa…witness Sony mini disc, Microsoft Vista and Google Buzz. So, what can Facebook and Twitter do to avoid the Death Star?

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