I thought this in 2017 – it’s still valid!

I once read an interesting article in the Fairfax press (http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/tech-giants-living-in-fear-of-doing-a-microsoft-20171015-gz1gih.html) which touched on an issue very close to my heart. It outlined how all the once brave, bold and innovative Tech-giants (Apple, Google, Facebook, etc) – who each got monstrously large with one unique ‘big idea’ – had now fallen into the ‘me too’ trap, much as Microsoft did under Steve Balmer. It is their focus on their ‘fear of falling behind’ that sees them all ‘doing everything’ (i.e. VR, Smart-speakers, self-driving vehicles, etc.) – all at pretty much the same time, with the result that their customers see no leadership and hence cease to follow.

It’s not just Twitter that has lost it’s way. Facebook and Google are also ‘having to’ lay off thousands of staff.

I see this as a symptom of a broader malaise. It’s not just the Unicorns that have lost the plot – it’s the majority of organisations. One can see it in their hiring patterns. They seek to replace what they had with ‘what they had’ – rather than seeing staff replacement as an opportunity to try something different. You see this in virtually every recruitment ad’s job specification.

Now, it could be, and lets face it it’s most likely, that nobody thought to rethink the requirement before writing the job spec. Indeed it’s even more likely that it was a ‘re-cycled’ spec. (I’m all for labour saving – but saving the planet one job spec. at a time isn’t going to cut it).  It reeks of “we’re happy where we are and don’t want to change” – which, following Darwin’s logic, strongly suggests imminent demise. I wonder if their shareholders know?