Have Breakfast… or…Be Breakfast

An extract from the article by DR Y.L.R.Moorthy, Professor in IIM Bangalore. It talks about competition from the blue.

Here we go…

Who sells the largest number of cameras in India ?

Sony, Canon or Nikon? The winner is Nokia whose main line of business in India is not cameras but cell phones . Reason being cameras bundled with cell phones are outselling stand alone cameras. Now, what prevents the cell phone from replacing the camera outright? Nothing at all.

Who is the biggest in music business in India ?

It is not HMV or Sa-Re-Ga-Ma. The answer is Airtel. By selling caller tunes (that play for 30 seconds) Airtel makes more than what music companies make by selling music albums (that run for hours). Incidentally Airtel is not in music business. It is the mobile service provider with the largest subscriber base in India . That sort of competitor is difficult to detect, even more difficult to beat (by the time you have identified him he has already gone past you).
Nokia confessed that they all but missed the smart phone bus. They admit that Apple’s I phone and Google’s Android can make life difficult in future. And Google was not a mobile company.

“Who is my competitor?”

“What Apple did to Sony, Sony did to Kodak?” Sony defined its market as audio (music from the walkman). They never expected an IT company like Apple to encroach into their audio domain. Come to think of it, is it really surprising? Apple as a computer maker has both audio and video capabilities. So what made Sony think he won’t compete on pure audio? Elementary.  So also Kodak defined its business as film cameras, Sony defines its businesses as “digital.”

In digital camera the two markets perfectly meshed. Kodak was torn between going digital and sacrificing money on camera film or staying with films and getting left behind in digital technology. Left undecided it lost in both. It had to. It did not ask the question “who is my competitor for tomorrow?” The same was true for IBM whose mainframe revenue prevented it from seeing the PC. The same was true of Bill Gates who declared “internet is a fad!” and then turned around to bundle the browser with windows to bury Netscape.

In 2008, who was the toughest competitor to British Airways in India,Singapore airline, Indian airlines? The answer is videoconferencing and tele presence services of HP and Cisco. Travel dropped due to recession. Senior IT executives in India and abroad were compelled by their head quarters to use videoconferencing to shrink travel budget. So much so, that the mad scramble for American visas from Indian techies was nowhere in sight in 2008. ( India has a quota of something like 65,000 visas to the U.S. They were going a-begging. Blame it on recession!).

India has two passions. Films and cricket. The two markets were distinctly different. So were the icons. The cricket gods were Sachin and Sehwag. The filmy gods were the Khans (Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and the other Khans who followed suit).  IPL brought cricket down to 20 overs. Suddenly an IPL match was reduced to the length of a 3 hour movie. Cricket became film’s competitor.
On the eve of IPL matches movie halls ran empty. Desperate multiplex owners requisitioned the rights for screening IPL matches at movie halls to hang on to the audience. If IPL were to become the mainstay of cricket, as it is likely to be, films have to sequence their releases so as not clash with IPL matches. As far as the audience is concerned both are what in India are
called 3 hour “tamasha” (entertainment). Cricket season might push films out of the market.
Look at the products that vanished from India in the last 20 years..
black and white movie, fountain pen, typewriter, electronic typewriter ,alarm clock. An entire industry of clocks disappeared without warning thanks to cell phones. Big watch companies like Titan were the losers.

You never know in which bush your competitor is hiding!
The boss of an IT company once said something interesting about the animal
called competition.

He said “Have breakfast …or…. be breakfast”!

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Grateful for the love and respect received so far. Inspire, motivate and enable anybody to achieve their limitless limits-that is my goal for the rest of my life. Worked in MECON, Mphasis, Cofounder KelpHR, kelphr.com

Categories Uncategorized6 Comments

6 thoughts on “Have Breakfast… or…Be Breakfast”

  1. I strongly agree with the statement “Have Breakfast … or Be Breakfast”. Gaining popularity or Success is easy compared to Sustaining the Success.

  2. Coincidentally, more and more every day, I see our biggest threat as Google …. They scare me more than our current “direct” competitors.

    In the past year I needed to diagnose and repair two separate issues on a friend’s 2001 VW Passat. In both cases our database has what VW provides to diagnose and repair those issues. … nearly nothing.

    When I was not able to find what I needed in our product, I Googled the symptoms. Google directed me to user group forums (free access) that helped me diagnose and repair both problems. Multiple stories with consistent diagnoses. Procedures that included photos.

    Had a similar experience working on a 1988 Toyota Corolla. Our information for a 1988 vehicle doesn’t include all of the real-world information available on the internet. Once again Google gave me clues and tips for diagnosis and repair that our product does not include.

    I know that as time goes on our customers are also learning to use Google to find the information they need, especially when we don’t provide it.  And Google is free.

    At some point the availability of free information using Google may (will) reduce the perceived value of our information …

    I know we, as a company, have plans to start collecting some information from techs to fill some of the holes in our OE information. I hope that happens sooner than later.

  3. Hello,

    That was a really good blog. Changes are common but the impact it does leave a deep mark!In order to exist in these cut-throat competitions companies have to strive throughout and hence “Have breakfast or be breakfast”. 🙂

  4. Hi Sir,
    Thanks a lot for sharing such a thought provoking article.

    Its really surprising to know how some of the new innovations have taken over the things that prevailed for a long time.

    People are always busy catching up with new innovations that tend to become the trend of the time…. Seldom do they think of the things that are getting obsolete because of this and nor they hardly ponder on the impact the new trend will have on already exisiting things.

    This article is a very good eye-opener to channelize our thoughts in this direction.


    1. True. We are always looking at todays competitors and these types are tomorrows and its very difficult to anticipate. Sony must have thought of all others but definitely not apple or microsoft.
      Never mind which business, we have to consider someone who has the capability though not in your ype of business.

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