Not that long ago I was singing the praises of Joost, a peer-to-peer video streaming technology that promised a huge boost in quality and performance. Actually, Joost did pretty well delivering on the promise. But what happens if you throw a party and… everyone else decides to throw a party on the same night?
Just as with Dan Ackroyd’s infamous Bass-o-Matic routine on Saturday Night Live which blenderized a hapless fish (warning, an actual fish was destroyed during the production of this sketch: http://www.hulu.com/watch/19046/saturday-night-live-bassomatic), so too Joost has blenderized itself and been reborn as a web video portal.
The lesson of this story for entrepreneurs is not that Joost had a bad idea or raised too much money or executed poorly – in fact quite the opposite – but that in business and technology as in life, change is the only constant. So being present and able to flow with it is often smarter than fighting the tide, and because they’ve survived we get to see what they do to differentiate themselves so they thrive.
Or as a venture investor friend of mine says when considering whether to fund a company, “I’m betting on the management because the business always faces unexpected challenges from competors, the technology or the economy, and it’s essential the people driving the company have the wisdom, experience and fortitude to adapt on the fly.”