Sunday, March 29, 2009

Welcome to the Time of Opportunity

It may not feel like it, but we are living in an era of tremendous opportunity. While this blog made this point before, I was reminded of it in reading a very interesting article called "Coke? Oreos? That's so last year" on MSN Money. The message of the article is that in these lean economic times, consumers are rethinking their values and often choose generic brands over "name-brands". The article gives examples of how this has been an opportunity for small, lesser known consumer-products companies that provide value rather than fancy packaging.

The consumer-products opportunity here is along one primary axis: cost. We believe that while the cost axis presents an opportunity for technology companies, there may also be other axes along which new opportunity can be seized in more sophisticated markets.

Simply put, we are living through a time of great market disruption. In the case of consumer markets, this means that brand names no longer necessarily mean success. For technology start-ups, we believe that within this great disruption, target markets may be willing to challenge their traditional ways of doing things along several axes: not only will they be looking for cost savings; but they may, in fact, be willing to change the way they do things more fundamentally to achieve even broader benefits.

Let me give you a few examples:

-We have all read about the success of This is not just because of lower costs. Today's market is leading customers to need to try new ways to doing things in order to make their businesses work.

Moreover, we are working with a few companies that are finding tremendous momentum in today's market:

-One of our clients is providing an entirely new way to deploy web applications in the cloud. While there are some cost benefits to its approach, the savings enabled by this company are as importantly in time and complexity as well. They have acquired 25,000 new applications in a matter of a few months.

-Another of our clients has a very low cost 3-D sensor. This means that computers and entertainment devices are able to do much more than make existing capabilities faster or cheaper. They can actually create new user experiences that will bring in entirely new markets and revenue streams.

We can all think of more examples of how companies are able to capture significant new opportunity in this market. We believe it's important to keep your eyes open for these and seize the moment.

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