A Consulting Case Study in Startup Timing and Technology

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Image result for Case Study in StartupThe other day, I was looking through a number of business plans which had been forwarded to me at our think tank. Luckily, and retirement I have quite a bit of time to read through all these, and so sometimes I will sit in Starbucks and go through a stack of them. Being a semi-retired consultant these days, I have more time that many of the venture capitalists, who only barely have time to read the executive summary, and may read 100 of those a week, put them into small piles, and pick three or four as potentials, and maybe only read one or two, and then if the entrepreneurs are lucky, they might get a phone call. That’s pretty much the way it works. Okay so, let’s talk about this for second shall we,
There was one business plan which I very much liked, because I am a book lover. It was a new type of bookshelves made at of some very exotic and strong material. In fact, the bookshelves would become invisible under normal UV light, but they would glow-in-the-dark slightly at night. Yes, that’s very cool, so is the technology behind it, and the applications are endless not just for books, but for so many things really.
Okay so, but what is that big joke, “All of these eReaders and eBooks are great for everyone except for bookshelves makers.”
In fact, there was a similar quote in the Wall Street Journal by a company called NetBase on March 17, 2012, in an article titled “Closing The Books-the Online Buzz about the Decision by Encyclopedia Britannica to Cease Print Publications after 244 Years,” a quote which basically reiterates my point here, apparently someone had tweeted this in under the comments about the story of Encyclopedia Britannica which said it would only produce the digital edition from here on out. The quote that that individual used was “bad news for bookshelves makers.”
And doesn’t this really speak to the reality of timing and technology in the marketplace, Being in the right place, at the right time makes all the difference. This business plan of an invisible bookshelf, which would make all the books look as if they were floating on air, is about the coolest invention I’ve ever heard of, and it would have been great 10 years ago, they would’ve sold an unbelievable number, and believe it or not the price point is actually quite intriguing, and I was impressed.
Myself, I would love to have one, but with fewer people buying physical books, it really doesn’t make any sense anymore. Nice business plan, great technology, but horrible timing. As a consultant you can certainly understand my point here. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

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