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Five Big Brands Which Failed To Keep Up With Innovation

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Innovation is the cornerstone of any successful corporation or business.  Many corporate empires were built on the back of constant innovation and a few examples include Google, Apple and Amazon.  However, the opposite also holds true, that is, failure to keep up with changing demands and failing to innovate can shut down empires completely altogether.  Let us look at five brands which used to be household names but failed to keep up with innovation, leading to their eventual downfall.

Five big brands which failed to keep up with innovation

Kodak

Kodak was the pioneer in producing photo films for film cameras.  Many families till the early 1990s owned at least one film camera.  Kodak came up with the tagline ‘Kodak moment’ and it became such a huge hit with their audience that any good moment was called a ‘Kodak moment.’  However, Kodak, as a brand, failed to make the transition to digital photography as the management felt their key business focus should be on photographic films.  Canon entered the field of digital photography and completely transformed how photos could be captured and viewed by eliminating the need to develop a film. After multiple failed attempts to revive its business, Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Nokia

Nokia is a Finnish brand which is well known for the sturdy mobile handsets they manufactured  during the 1990s. When the telecommunication revolution began, landlines were becoming outdated and they were being replaced by mobile handsets.  Nokia focussed on their hardware and produced several great mobile phones. Nokia was the first company to release a phone with a camera. So good was their hardware, their phones were termed as nearly indestructible.  When Apple introduced its first iPhone and then Google presented its Android software, Nokia was reluctant to embrace the Android OS, which cost them their place at the top. While Nokia’s competitors like Samsung, Sony and LG were already integrating Android OS into their devices, Nokia failed to seize the opportunity and expand its business.   Nokia’s mobile and devices division was finally acquired by Microsoft in the year 2013.

BlackBerry Motion

BlackBerry broke into the market by positioning itself as a device which offered the best encryption on the market.  This feature made it able to capture the interest of the corporate individuals and companies. Their BlackBerry Messenger, popularly known as BBM, had a unique identity as well.  BlackBerry was able to keep up with Apple when the Company released its iPhone, mainly due to its existing delivery network and infrastructure. Apple’s sales finally exceeded that of BlackBerry and the remaining market share was slowly being grabbed by Samsung, LG and other devices which came with an Android platform.  BlackBerry also tried to develop their own OS called the Blackberry 10 which was to replace the older Blackberry OS. Although BlackBerry then focused its business on adapting Android OS into their devices, the damage was already done as BlackBerry did not make the necessary changes when Samsung and the rest entered the market.

Yahoo!

Yahoo! started out as a search engine and was a pioneer  during the early internet era. Yahoo! also concentrated on the content and advertisements on their platform.  By undervaluing the importance of the search engine and focusing more on their content, they lost track of improving the user experience.  Yahoo! also missed out on a couple of deals which would have catapulted them to new heights, like when they had a deal to buy out Google and Facebook.  Yahoo!’s internet business was finally purchased by Verizon Technologies in 2016.

Blockbuster

Blockbuster, which is also called Blockbuster Entertainment, was an American company well known for operating stores which had top end electronics and games, apart from their video rental service.  They were particularly popular during the advent of VCRs, CDs and DVDs. The management was reluctant to begin an online segment of their business as they believed according to their data, customers would prefer to come to their stores to make purchases.  At this time, a new startup, named Netflix, entered the market, by providing a mail order service to rent videos and DVDs in the form of subscriptions. Netflix approached Blockbuster for a partnership where, if Blockbuster was willing to advertise Netflix in their stores, Netflix would run Blockbuster online.  This proposal was rejected by Blockbuster, leading Netflix to capture their market after they began their streaming services.

In conclusion, large corporations can shut down if they do not innovate.  In this day, where technology is evolving at a very rapid rate and where data  reigns as the king, companies need to be on their toes and constantly have an ear to the ground to listen to what the consumer needs and how they can improve the quality of life.  Having powerful leaders who are able to take risks when necessary can steer companies to success.

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5 Books For Every Entrepreneur In 2020

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5 Books For Every Entrepreneur In 2020

It is easy to talk about entrepreneurs and look at them with envy for pursuing their passion but what no one knows is the amount of sweat, blood and tears which go into making an entrepreneurial dream come true.  Entrepreneurs are expected to be highly competitive in the cutthroat market and at the same time continually strive to set an example for others to follow.  The sad truth however is that not all entrepreneurs succeed in their mission because some may give up midway through their entrepreneurial journey, or some might run out of cash while some are just not able to scale up their business.

Many successful entrepreneurs have documented their journey and their thoughts in autobiographies or novels for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking inspiration.  These books would manage to scale up your game, improve your business strategy, potential to connect with new people and most importantly would give you courage to persist on your journey.

Here are five books in 2020 which every entrepreneur should read

1) The Lean Startup by Eric Reiss

Published in 2011, this book is still relevant even in 2020 as Eric Reiss outlines a guide to help entrepreneurs to develop methods to manage their startups/businesses.  Entrepreneurs can set their strategies according to their needs and runway cash to optimise their business opportunities.  The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs, in companies of all sizes, a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it is too late.

2) Zero To One: Notes On Startups Or How To Build The Future by Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel is the co founder of PayPal and an entrepreneur as well as a venture capitalist.  Zero To One tries to teach entrepreneurs about how Peter Thiel thinks , his approach towards business and how one can shape the future of their startup.  WhilePeter Thiel was teaching a class at Stanford University, a student named Blake Masters took notes which led to the book Zero To One released by both Thiel and Masters.

3) The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Bob Dorf and Steve Blank

This book is touted to be the perfect guide for any entrepreneur to scale their business.  This book has detailed step by step instructions on building successful, scalable, profitable startups.  The Startup Owner’s Manual is so popular that it is taught in university courses at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia and many other universities.  The Startup Owner’s Manual follows the theory of customer development, agile, and lean engineering.

ALSO READ: Five Steps Entrepreneurs Can Follow To Identify New Business Opportunities

4) The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino

Although first published in 1968, this book is still a bestseller and widely read by entrepreneurs.  The book aims to serve as a guide to philosophy of salesmanship, and success through the story of Hafid, a poor camel boy who achieves a life of abundance. The Greatest Salesman In The World is written in the form of ten scrolls.

5) Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston

This book is a collection of some really unique interviews done by Jessica Livingston with some of the greatest startup founders in Silicon Valley like Apple, PayPal, TiVo, Yahoo, and TripAdvisor.  This book aims to offer wisdom and insights straight from the mouths of some of the most influential entrepreneurs.

Let us know if there are any other books which deserve to be read in 2020.

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The Rise Of Gig Economy In India 

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The Rise Of Gig Economy In India 

India is notorious for churning out graduates from colleges at a very high rate and the education system in India is always under fire for not focusing on all round development but on marks and grades, instead.  This is a growing concern as there are not enough jobs available to accommodate all the graduates passing out from college.  However, the Indian millennial is a smart individual and when put under pressure, a millennial is capable of coming out of it better.  So, what did the Indian millennial do when there were less opportunities and did not want to be part of the rat race?  They turned to taking up gigs and that spawned an entire economy and industries to flourish.

Gig economy can be defined as a work engagement where on one side, there is a service seeker that is a consumer with a demand for a specific task, and on the other side, there is a service provider that is. a gig worker who can perform that specific task.  The gig economy was able to flourish solely because of the advent of digital platforms which were able to connect a service seeker with a provider.   More and more Indians are looking to escape from the monotony of a 9 to 5 desk job and instead take up freelance gigs which complement their skills.  

In order to put the gig economy into simpler terms, here are some examples.  An individual who likes to drive cars would consider working with Uber as a driver partner to earn some extra bucks.  An individual who is good at playing the guitar would consider performing in live shows with a band to earn extra money.  A person who is good at painting would consider selling their art for extra money.  The gig ecosystem offers the millennial an outlet to escape monotony and pursue their passion instead. 

The gig economy could only thrive when there are digital platforms which are able to connect the supply with the demand.  The digital gig economy generated a gross volume of approximately $ 204 billion from worldwide customers in 2018.  India has emerged as the 5th largest country for flexible staffing after the United States of America, China, Brazil and Japan.  Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Telangana have the most opportunities in terms of growth for the flexible workers.

ALSO READ: Indian Startups Face Their Biggest Challenge As 70% Of Them Have Less Than 3 Months Of Runway Cash

Gig economy allows task ownership, convenience and flexibility.  Based on tastes and preferences, an individual can determine the number and type of projects they can work on, the quantum of their earnings, and thus, their work-life balance.  For example, an individual who took on five gigs in one month could take only three gigs the next month to balance life at their regular job.

The gig economy has a disruptive model to connect sellers and buyers for almost all kinds of skills and services.  While the size of the gig economy may seem marginal when compared to the traditional economy, it is recognized for its enormous potential with the desire of workers, specially millennials to have a flexible work schedule and the rise in the on demand consumer services.  Of In India, almost 70% corporates have already used gig workers for at least one task in 2018.

In India, a platform called Lemonop, is setting an example in the gig economy by providing a platform for students and working professionals to look for gigs of their liking.  There are plenty of other platforms like Lemonop which are slowly bridging the gap between talent and job demand.

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Indian Startups Face Their Biggest Challenge As 70% Of Them Have Less Than 3 Months Of Runway Cash

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Indian Startups Face Their Biggest Challenge As 70% Of Them Have Less Than 3 Months Of Runway Cash

We live in the age of technology where the internet was able to bridge the gap between consumers and business.  This gave rise to new technologies which meant there was a lot of room for new businesses to pop up and that was what happened in the recent past.  Startups have been mushrooming rapidly to meet the demand in various sectors and it is safe to say that we live in the age of information technology and startups.  The startup ecosystem was a thriving sector until the whole world came to a standstill when the COVID-19 virus began spreading across the globe.  

Governments went into emergency mode and with no vaccine available and none in sight for the near future, governments declared strict lockdowns and curfews with the hope to stop the spread of the virus.  The Indian Government announced the first lockdown on March 24th and has since extended it till the end of June while easing some restrictions.  The first two months were the hardest and the economic impact was the hardest on travel, events, movies, sporting, rental and transportation industries.  As the lockdown is slowly easing the actual impact of the COVID-19 on startups is beginning to show.  The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) conducted a survey to study the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Indian Startups.

The survey shows that

  • 90% of startups registered a decline in revenues.
  • 70% of these startups have less than 3 months of cash runaway.
  • 30-40% of startups have suspended their operations.

The survey also showed that 70% of travel related startups have faced 40% decline in revenue, 50% of Fintech and logistics have seen a similar dip in revenues while 14% of edtech and health tech startups expect revenue growth amid COVID-19 crisis.  The survey also suggests that early and mid stage business are the most affected segments, especially in B2C (business to consumer) space.  It also found that around 60% of B2C startups were facing closure as revenues plummeted to near zero levels after businesses were forced to shut down for nearly 2 months, because of the lockdown.

The president of NASSCOM Debjani Ghosh said “However, it is not all doom and gloom; more than half of the start-ups are looking to pivot to new business opportunities, diversify into growth verticals like healthcare, and enhancing focus on emerging tech like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud (sic.)”  She also added, “to ensure that the Indian start-up movement and its growth trajectory is not derailed, coordinated support from key stakeholders is the need of the hour.  Some of our key recommendations to the government include access to working capital, easing compliances and fiscal policy and funding support (sic.)”

The Indian Government took note of the economic situation and has announced a whopping 20 lakh crore rupees as part of the AtmaNirbhar Bharat package which would be used to help various industries and sectors.  The Government also called for buying products which are made from locally sourced materials once again stressing on the need for ‘Make In India.’  This is a test for startups to prove their mettle and emerge stronger from this crisis.

 

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