The Internet Drives Our Thirst For Narrative.

Every business, foundation, technology and especially every brand, requires a story.
People remember story long after they have forgotten the product.
All good salesmen know this.

Losing The Brand

Netscape, Webvan, United Way Billion Dollar Brands

In retrospect is easy pontificate .

Unproven business model: Webvan never was. It had money, trucks and a flickering business model. Business heavyweights rallied around the idea, the CEO of Accenture, quit to become CEO for a projected billion in stock. Then bam! Its expensively designed trucks were up for auction, the doors closed.

+ Today Yahoo, Facebook and MySpace have unproven business models, time will tell.

Ruthless competition: Netscape lacked management skill to prevent being rolled over by Microsoft. The guru came out to Silicon Valley from the Midwest as a hero and began a career as a technology start-up successes. The founder bailed, just as he had when SGI hit its peak. The only people to lose money we the shareholders caught flatfooted.

+ Like frozen yogurt, difficult as a stand-alone, but rather part of a whole product.

Inability to change: United Way was wounded by the shift to accountability. The organization was built to be symbiotic with the massive Fortune 500 management of the 60s, 70s and 80s. "Fare Share" – how American. Then upstart service, manufacturing and technology firms demanded metrics, and suddenly the United Way was reporting into a different management gestalt. No longer the fat cats and fiefdoms around the country, but rather a new breed of slim, open collar execs wanted to know where the Fare Share was going. What was the outcome?

+ NCAA, Red Cross, NAACP are all challenged by radical shifts within their constituencies.

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