Adapt to market changes or fade away

Adapt to market changes or fade away

Rendered obsolete if they don’t adapt to market changes fast enough

Anyone in the business world knows that it’s currently experiencing a rapid rate of change. New companies spring up seemingly overnight. Products and services that were revolutionary two years ago are rendered obsolete if they don’t adapt to market changes fast enough.

Adapt to market changes or fade away

Cisco spent $590 million in 2009 to buy into the camera business – they bought Flip, the maker of the popular Flip Video camcorders, from Pure Digital. Two years later Cisco had to shut down the business unit: the Flip camcorder division.

What murdered those cheap, adorable camcorders?

No need for a separate device

When Steve Jobs introduced the camera-equipped iPod Nano in 2009, he made it clear that the Flip budget camcorder was Apple’s primary target. “We want to get in on this,” said Jobs regarding the budget-camera industry, while showing a slide of the Flip at the 2009 iPod event.

Why buy a cheap camcorder if you could buy an iPod Nano that shot video, too? In addition to the Nano, Apple had already released the iPhone 3GS, also capable of capturing standard-definition video.

Eventually, a slew of Android smartphones also shipped with video-capable cameras, and so did Apple’s iPod Touch. The iPhone 4 and others brought HD video recording to smartphones, eliminating the Flip’s last possible advantage.

Suddenly, the notion of carrying around a cheap camcorder in addition to a general-purpose smartphone or iPod seemed impractical – extra bulk in your pocket.

Real-time social networking

The Flip probably wouldn’t have been murdered so easily if Cisco had caught on to something that’s been trendy for years: real-time social networking. To make that work, the Flip would have required an internet connection.

The company promised back in 2009 to bring out a WiFi Flip in early 2010. It didn’t – it moved too slowly. At this point, smartphones was already too far ahead, with popular social media apps such as Instagram and Ustream making them even cooler.

Instead, Flip camcorders require a wired connection to a PC in order to transfer the files and upload them to a website. That’s old-school, PC-centric social networking.

Me-too competitors

Flip’s success drew attention of many that created very similar devices by Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and others. It became exceedingly difficult to distinguish Flip from the rest of the pack.

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom

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