I am sure many fellow entrepreneurs have heard this question from many VC investors. Many, less experienced investors, do ask this question because they are actually afraid of the consequences of Google dropping all their other tasks and focusing on beating you to market. Other, more experienced investors, do expect you to provide a strong answer regarding your competitive advantage or what Warren Buffet refers to as Moats.
Thousands of academic hours per year are spent worldwide on discussing how come Yahoo did not build Google, Nokia did not invent the iPhone, how come Facebook did not build Whatsapp or Instagram and had to overpay $20B for the two assets. We heard the same question of “why wouldn’t Google or Gettyimages develop your image processing platform at PicScout ” and “why wouldn’t eBay develop the simple social feature you built at The Gifts Project ”. We hear the same questions now regarding Zebra-Med.
So the word is out there that it took less than 10 hours to develop the fastest growing app ever called YO. We can assume that a more focused team that will actually spend time to make the app more secure and well tested could have done it in 12 hours, say, 24 hours.
If it was proven to be so viral (aka – address a weird, yet real human communication, need) and it takes only 24 hours to build a less hackable, more stable version of this killer app, why don’t we see corporates launching many versions of YO? Companies who have access to 100m+ mobile users and are craving to be back on the innovation-radar and get some PR buzz, corporates who appointed a chief innovation officer to find what kinds of mobile related “things” consumer want and budgeted this in millions of $$ – why do they prefer to sit on the fence and not invest these 24 hours?
These are some the voices that will talk inside the corporate minds:
- “we will discuss it in our next all-team meeting and make a better decision regarding the right way to approach it” (by then YO might have 10m users)
- “someone in R&D will do it for sure. I am certain they are on it! “
- “we can’t risk our brand with such a silly app”- “Our legal will never approve this app , it is for sure a patent or copyright infringement of some sort”
- “YO is for sure an offensive name in China or Japan or the East or the Iraq, so this will be the other reason why our legal team will not allow us to do it”
- “If it’s so easy to develop , everyone else will do it and I will look stupid in the next management meeting. We can always buy them in few years when it will be more proven”
- “Our support team is not able to manage millions of new users all at once, while keeping our brand equity and excellent customer support processes”
- “I am sure our new Chief innovation Officer is on the mother-F#$%!, and will deploy a better product to the million of users we have so we can beat YO to market next week ! ..or as soon he is back from the off-site”
- “I can’t believe such a low level developer did it in 8 hours (!) and will become a billionaire while I will still be in my office cubical ’till they do another re-org and fire me “
While I am sure that the new kings of the technology and social world (Google, FB, Twitter, etc) teams are going to take a more entrepreneurial look at investing the needed 24 hours to develop a kind of YO, it is interesting to watch the behavior of the other very resourceful and cash heavy companies with access to tens of millions of mobile phones (each) deciding not to even try.
Yo might end up being a “Draw Something” but if you are in the business of reaching millions of mobile consumers and getting them engaged , it says a lot about your corporate culture and future if none of your team members dares to even give it a try in the next coming weeks.
yo – just my 2c
This Guest Post was originally published on Eyal Gura’s blog – Freedom Opportunity Future
Get started on your own “Yo” today!