Mysterious, elusive and gathering pace? Let’s talk about Google
When I give this presentation, the two examples I use of these difficult-to-compete-against companies are Uber and Airbnb. Although still private, both companies share data on their blogs about how the companies are doing. And at recent valuations of $17 billion and $10 billion respectively, there must be already a hell of a lot of rides given and nights booked. Yet even after telling these stories, as well as stories from other industries where incumbents have been displaced by disruptors, the reaction is still one of curiosity rather than alarm. It’s only recently that I uncovered that it is a different name that invokes every manager’s Voldemort complex.
To get a heated debate going, a frisson of excitement in an otherwise sterile conference room, the name you need to invoke is one that is commonplace, yet at the same time mysterious and elusive. Even if you want to talk about Uber or Airbnb, what the industry is really interested in is Google.