Room for one more…

September 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Not so long ago the iPhone was the only smart phone worth condsidering. Apple stole a march on their rivals with a revolutionary product and gained a seemingly unassailable market share.

But over time the competition has improved and Samsung appear to have now firmly established themselves as a credible alternative. It is a time consuming and expensive process. (HTC blamed their inability to compete at Samsung’s level on their limited marketing budget.)

Samsung’s progress reminds you that in markets dominated by a single player, there is always room for one more.

In web based software businesses it is interesting to look at the dynamics of market share and the levels of investment – as VCs try to catapult their investee company up to one of the top 2 or maintain their dominant position.

Recent examples include money going to fund online food ordering. JustEat  recentlty raisd a further $60m (total funding now $125m) and its rival Delivery Hero rasied a fruther $50m (total funding now $100m).

Similar patterns continue in areas such as taxi ordering (Uber/Hailo),  fashion (Fab/Matches) and handmade goods (Etsy/Notonthehighstreet).


Ivan Lendl – a model non-exec?

September 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

The impact of Ivan Lendl on Andrew Murray’s tennis career has been hugely significant in the last year culminating in Murray winning both the Olympics and the US Open.

 At the risk of betraying a lack of understanding of tennis, and mixing my sporting metaphors, a few characteristics of the working relationship between the two of them provide some useful pointers for when ambitious companies are looking at appointing a non-exec.

Real life, relevant experience – Lendl had been there and done it before. Experiencing the failures and also achieving success.

Shared long term goals – Lendl could see the potential and was willing to work for an extended time to see the results.

Focussed objectives – Lendl identified specific areas that Murray was to work on, that could make a real difference.

Professional relationship – there is mutual respect from both sides. They enjoy each other’s company, but also give each other space.

Brings and develops confidence – Murray notes that just having Lendl around was a calming influence, taking the pressure off him.

You could no doubt take this further, and there are certainly other examples of lessons to take from sport into business. The recent success of Team GB cycling and Dave Brailsford being one.


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