The two greatest tech booms in recent history have been the Industrial and Internet Revolutions. While both are amazing stories in their own right, I’d like to focus on a few individuals that have and are defining these periods with almost the same strategies.
Industrial Revolution: Andrew Carnegie created an empire in Steel. He started with very little… but over time came to own his own steel company. While his technology innovations in steel creation helped make his company successful, it was his business sense that made his company into an empire. As Carnegie’s company became a leader in steel, he began to purchase the mines where his steel company purchased its iron-oar. Then as he saw another year of record profits he purchased the major railroads that his company used to send its finished steel product around the country. What Carnegie did was called Vertical Integration, where a company buys out its supply chain to cut its cost and maximize the profits.
Internet Revolution: Steve Jobs created and empire of access. Apple under the leadership of Steve Jobs is a perfect example of modern vertical integration. Apple created the iPod to allow you to listen to all of your music, any where. Then they created iTunes a place to manage all of your music. Next came the iTunes Music Store where you could buy all of your music. This then developed into a larger library of content coupled with bigger and better products such as the iPhone. All of these offering have evolved into the Apple we know today… a company that has both “vertically and horizontally integrated” the personal electronics experience. You buy your content through Apple, you buy the product that you consume that content on through Apple, and then to top it off you’re content is part of a “cloud” that rewards you for having multiple products from Apple.
Industrial Revolution: John D. Rockefeller’s strategy with Standard Oil wasn’t too complicated. He realized that there was one limited resource that would drive his revolution… OIL. He grabbed as much of it as he could, creating a position of power in the total revolution.
Internet Revolution: Mark Zuckerberg had a very simple idea that evolved into Facebook. (That is all him) What he realized along the way was something that Rockefeller learned. Zuckerberg controls by far the most of the one limited resource that drives the internet revolution… TIME. Mark has a very strong grip on the vast majority of time spent on-line. As anyone in the internet business can tell you… if you have eye balls on your website you are king. (also “Time is Money”)
There are more connections than the one’s above… but what I’m most interested in is the aftermath of these periods… what’s next?
Thanks for Listening,