(Massive hat tip to Clay Shirky here)
Software is eating the world. The world’s largest taxi company owns no cars. The largest provider of overnight accommodation owns no hotels. In 2017, two companies took a whopping $120 billion in advertising spend, despite not owning a printing press or TV network between them.
All these companies were founded as modest startups in the last 20 years. Many of the business’s they’re displacing have been around for over a century. 10-year-old Uber has the same $60 billion valuation as 100-year-old General Motors.
How did this happen? It seems counter intuitive that a company like Uber, which only owns software, is worth as much as GM, which owns hundreds of huge factories and plants.
How do small software startups founded with less than five employees ‘steal’ the markets from billion dollar incumbents? Like all counter intuitive truths, the answer lies in what we think we know… and what’s actually going on.