Does BIG really mean Better?

As with most blog articles, this is my opinion only...that being said, my opinion right now is that BIG (meaning very large, corporate multi-national companies) is loosing it's advantage in today's economy.  Here are some of my ideas about that:

1. In many of today's businesses, the barrier to entry is much smaller than it used to be - even in capital intensive businesses (mostly because capital is cheap right now).  But truly in the world of "knowledge" working and information technology - there is really an opportunity for someone with a good idea to get it developed and out in the market - with a limited amount of start up capital.  And there are even ways to broadcast your idea to get "funded".

There is also another thing that eliminates this barrier to entry - one again in technology services - and that is that there are lots of BIG companies willing to sell their over capacity of "things technology".  Case in point, Amazon created AWS (Amazon Web Services) as a way to leverage their technology infrastructure - basically, they had too much for about 10 months of the year (remember they are a retail organization at the very core).  So the "rented" out compute and storage to people/companies for a pennies.  Many of them were programmers and wanted to see if their services would take off before committing to buying their own servers and storage - it because a form of "self funding".  But once again, AWS helped lower the bar of entry for many companies providing software and services.

2.  Money is cheap.  I'm not a financial whiz like those on Wall Street and won't begin to explain collateralization of loans.  But, when money is cheap, it makes it much easier to enter markets that require capital - and right now, money is near zero to borrow (in comparative terms).  Also, when money is cheap, those that have it and are will to lend it are looking for "ventures" that will produce better results - which usually relates to risk, but when money is Zero, risk is relative.  The reason this has not be the windfall it should be, is there are plenty of people gunshy right now.  And as Baby Boomers go into retirement, they want more security (and less risk) - but they also want returns of more than 1% or less - basic Catch-22.

Right now, BIG and SMALL can borrow at about the same rate.  But, in the world of investments, SMALL represents a bigger up side than BIG.  So, where would you put your money?

3.  The next generation of consumers do not care about the old brands - there are fewer of them that really matter to them.  They have grown up with hundreds of TV stations, music at the their fingertips, entertainment on game consoles, texting, Facebook.  They don't consume the same way as the Baby Boomers - and could care less.  They are both brand conscience and uncaring at the same time.  They help build "brands" then tear them down just for the fun of it.  And they are more fractured than ever.  Niche upon Niche.  There are few BIGs that hold up to that pressure - Apple is one, but there aren't many others.

I don't know what will happen next, I just don't believe that BIG is the answer - or at least BIG and unfocused.  It requires an attitude of companies willing to "eat their young".  To survive, you have to have an attitude of fast failure - because you can't allow yourself to be too much in love with anything you are doing today - because it can change on a dime.  The new economy will be brutal and unforgiving.  Companies will rise and fall faster than ever before.  Products and Services will be here today, and gone tomorrow - because we are not living at light speed and there will be lots of causalities.


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