Everyonelikes comfort -a favorite chair or a comfortable bed. It is a good thing - except not in business, especially technology.
I am reminded of Andy Grove's famous mantra "only the paranoid survive." For me, my mantra is similar - "don't ever get too comfortable with your business."
EMC is now, by any ranking, a "big" company - and a big software company (7th largest in the world the last time I checked) as well. The challenge with being big is simply to never get too comfortable and realize that past successes do not guarantee future success.
It can be hard - the industry is littered with companies, once strong, now gone, mostly because they simply got too comfortable with their technology and products.
Clearly innovation is important in most businesses today but, often time, it is less about pure innovation and more about simply being responsive to the natural innovation that can occur in the industry.
Take, for example, the internet. Clearly it has changed so many things in our daily lives and transformed how we get information and how we communicate. At the core, there was innovation necessary to make the communication possible but the real growth and change happened as companies exploited these capabilities. Most of the companies that had a hand in “inventing” the internet have not profited nearly as much as those who were able to exploit it.
Building value is as much about execution as it is about vision. As I look at the industry trends and potential out there today – there are not a lot of “secrets.” The landscape and technologies are there – in plain view. I go to conferences and everyone is sharing thoughts and ideas. Customers will openly discuss their issues and pain points.
So with all that, you would think it would be easy for big companies to use their vast resources to quickly respond to customer needs and adopt new ideas and technologies but it is never that easy. Companies get comfortable with their products and philosophies and, since these strategies have been successful in the past, there is often a misguided belief that past success will predict future performance. In the changing face of technology and business, getting comfortable is the worst thing a company can do.
Hopefully everyone both inside and outside of EMC can see that I for one am not going to let us get comfortable with the successes of the past. While we will continue to use acquisition as a part of our strategy to offer the most innovative products and technologies, we will also continue and expand our internal efforts to yield new products and solutions to address changing needs and leverage new technologies.
In future blogs – I will talk more about these efforts and more of the exciting things going on here at EMC. And one thing is certain - we are not going to get comfortable!