Differentiators disappear over time, find others, move on

Differentiators disappear over time, find others, move on

In 1997, I was at a Board meeting at the Banque Invik Building in Luxembourg for MACH which was attended by Jan Stenbeck , the Swedish billionaire. He was the Chairman and owner of the group. MACH was at the peak of its powers as the mobile phone industry was growing by leaps and bounds and, so consequently, was MACH’s international roaming business. Our core product was data clearing.

Imagine then our surprise when Stenbeck told us that we should start cutting our data roaming charges and look for something new to focus on. Fortunately, we took his sage advice and built other revenue streams including financial clearing & settlement, fraud monitoring, analytics, etc. Many companies do not. They find something, lock on to it, and refuse to change while everything around them does.

It is wonderfull both as an individual and a company to have that unique proposition, that innovative idea or product which the market wants and will pay a premium for. But human beings are competitive creatures. What you have today, someone else will have tomorrow and then you will find yourself with the crowd, one among many. Trying to charge a premium for a commodity is a futile task.

The best time to find something new is when you are at the peak as we were at MACH. Take the time to think of what next. Otherwise you will join the long list of those who decline, first slowly and then at speed until only the memories remain.

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