Going Anaerobic

Here is some interesting biology of unconventional competition from David Berlind in his piece covering a presentation from Gartner analysts Ray Valdes and Neil McDonald -- Gartner: Embrace user rebellion or risk the wrath of it:

In the tech industry, unconventional competition could easily arise should organizations chose not to embrace certain communities of users. In particular, Valdes cited the days of Netscape vs. Microsoft when executives for the latter were infamously quoted as saying that they wanted to "suck the oxygen out of the system." Said Valdes, "When you try to cut off the air supply like that, what happens is anaerobic bacteria arise they're the kind that don't need that sustance. Unconventional competitors will arise that don't need oxygen." Netscape was a more traditional company. It had stock holders. It had employees. It had constituencies that it had to serve. It needed oxygen. The same cannot be said of the open source solutions like Firefox that are now challenging Microsoft on a variety of fronts. It raises a good question. With Internet Explorer usage starting to erode, might Microsoft be in different place had it worked harder to embrace the communities of people who went anaerobic?

I just love the image of a community going anaerobic on a company filled with aerobic employees having no idea what's going on because they feel they are not part of the community. The community is something out there, and we are all safe in here. But it doesn't work that way these days. And it's sort of a nice leveling factor, don't you think? The solution, of course, is really quite simple -- let go. Ok, implementing that letting go is somewhat more difficult, but it's necessary from time to time as history demonstrates. I now understand why many people miss these rapid market shifts, though. They have accumulated so much power from their old system that letting go represents losing. So, it's taken away from them anyway. Wild. Not true in all cases, of course, but true enough in many cases. Personally, I love the process. I can think of nothing so liberating. In this world, anyway.
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