Are we losing Enterprising Entrepreneurs ?

The flourishing mobile ecosystems have created opportunities for a budding entrepreneur in launching a mobile user-based product without much investment. We are fortunate to have the environment, tools and financing partners to take our ideas to realization.

But are we seeing a wrong trend that’s being created recently ? What’s really alarming is the short life-cycle of these products.

So what’s the typical life-cycle of a product in this category?

Phase I

An out-of-the-box idea coupled with a brilliant solution is what it takes to launch your product. Rest is handled by the ecosystem and the initial users who use the product.

Phase II

The second phase kicks in by the involvement of noted technology centered portals and famous tech-bloggers to bring in additional popularity( read advertisement) to rocket the product to next level. Based on the uniqueness of the solution, this phase will be easier.

Compared to the situation a decade ago a tech entrepreneur’s job is easy.

What happens next ?

The product have gained enough popularity that it starts getting attention from big players. And one day, the company and the product is acquired by them. Usual promising by them and the entrepreneur that the new alliance will take the product to next level.

Did they keep that promise?

Sparrow – Sparrow didn’t exist on Android platform. Google acquired and said, expect more. In my opinion this product was killed. Sparrow also didn’t have another choice as the push-to-device feature was shot down by Apple. Without this, on the long run, Sparrow will be like any other email client on iOS. So why don’t I cash in?

Instagram – A highly popular photo sharing app with its cool filters made a novice’s snap looked like a professional and appealing snap. It’s ever-increasing user base alerted facebook.

Mailbox – A clever email app, which changed the way we dealt with our day-to-day emails. The product has not even come to main stream. The innovative solution and popularity by tech portals was enough for Dropbox to see a business proposition in the product.

If talent was in Sparrow for Google, it was user base in Instagram and additional revenue thru storage in Mailbox.

Did all these budding tech companies make any wrong decision by selling their products to big players?

In my opinion they did the right thing. Existing ecosystems and choices have made the task in getting our products to mainstream with far less efforts than earlier. And none of these products can survive a decade of existence. Tomorrow another clever entrepreneur will come with a product more innovative than theirs and erode the user base or revenue. Or probably the big companies themselves with bring in their own version as a feature to their existing product line.

So why not cash in on my efforts and exit at the right time.

But, think , are we sending a signal to the user base? All the above products were free, so a valid genuine user concern can’t hold. On the other hand user’s mindset will be getting tuned to the fact the any forthcoming product like these will have a short life cycle. They will be cautious next time they pitch in to use or try a new product. By the time you get used to the product it will be acquired and killed by big companies.

So, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to ultimately sell your ideas in tech world, launch products which are aligned to the business goals of big players.

It takes a mammoth task, dedication and persisting vision to build and sustain an Enterprise

Will Dropbox be the next Instagram? Only time can tell.


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