The Beauty Industry and Missed Opportunities

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In business, we have played with the”if I only knew then what I know today…” game. And yes, many – if not all of us would lunge at the chance to jump into a time machine and emerge in the fabled right location at the ideal time: state, just before a crazy stock exchange surge, or just as valuably, right before an impending crash.But of all of the”if I only knew then what I know today” ponderings, the ones which are the most debilitating – those which keep us up at night, lamenting not just what might happen to be, but what should happen to be are the chances that we let slip right through our very own fingers.Those are the chances that bite the longest and reduce on the deepest, because in hindsight we see, with tragic clarity, they were really made for us. Those chances came knocking at our door, and all we really had to do was turn the doorknob, allow them , and reap the benefits rewards.But for a variety of reasons – call it destiny, bad fortune, or anything else – we missed it. Therefore the knocking stopped, the door remained shut, and the opportunity went elsewhere.Top Missed Opportunities (and Blunders) at Tech HistoryIf reflecting on missed chances has you feeling pretty lousy, then take heart: you did not make PC World’s harshly (but accurately!) Indeed, while you may sometimes lie awake in bed at night wondering”what could have been,” the folks on this list are likely knee-deep in therapists through this point. Behold:• In 2006, Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel reacted to some bad business financial news by withdrawing a virtually sealed $1 billion dollar offer for Facebook. The deal was decreased to $600 million, which was too low for Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. • In 2000an engineer, Tony Fadell pitched a music player that was an innovation in the current mixture of MP3 players. He was shown the door by Real Networks and Philips, but he did capture the attention of a guy named Steve Jobs. Jump ahead a decade and Fadell’s vision – that became the iPod – controls 80 percent of the digital music market, and it has transformed how in which the music industry produces and delivers its own product.• From the early 2000’s, monoliths Sony and Toshiba waged corporate warfare over who would define the new high definition DVD standard. Sony had something called Blu-ray. Toshiba had something known as HD DVD. Had they worked together, they would have saved countless millions of dollars and profited hundreds of millions more. Talk about a missed opportunity!• Folks of a certain age will readily remember the days when MS-DOS mastered the computer operating system world (can I get a dir, please?) . However, most folks don’t know that before IBM chose Microsoft, it tried to strike a deal with a man named Gary Kildall of Digital Research. As it happens, the day that IBM ceased by Gary’s place to forge a bargain, he had been out delivering a product to a client – leaving his wife to handle the negotiations. Mrs. Kildall didn’t like some of the things IBM was suggesting, and sent on their way. • In 1973, Xerox constructed something very interesting and called it the Alto. At the time, nobody really knew what the Alto was, because nothing like this had ever existed. All they knew was that it had a windows-based GUI, ethernet media, along with a WYSIWYG text processor. There was no personal computer marketplace in 1973, and thus that the Alto was set on the back burner. But this was not before that iPod man Steve Jobs played around with one, went”aha!” By the time Xerox awakened for this, it had been late and they never did catch up.• Back in 1999, countless people basked in the front of the warm glow of their monitors and loaded up on digitial music courtesy of Napster. But not everybody was thrilled – including the music business itself, which went into DefCon 3 mode and attacked Napster and thousands of the”pirates” who were using it to”rip’em “. That is when Napster CEO Hank Barry offered this radical solution: permit the audio and pay royalties to the artists, just like a radio channel. To put things mildly, his proposal wasn’t heeded. Nor was it heeded from the music industry when a similar solution was suggested by, or some of the other websites where music enjoying”pirates” were congregating. Obviously, we know how this story ends: today, Barry’s licensing model is worth billions of dollars per year – and growing. The digital music industry could have avoided years of missed sales, legal expenses, and the ire of music lovers (especially the 30,000 or so it sued) if it had just noticed the writing on the wall and READ it. It had everything a CEO, investor or investor dreams of: enormous market share, established customer base, enormous resources, small competition, and technical benefits (especially around data) that served in some ways such as a pure monopoly. So what happened? Attempting to bolster its leadership position, re-invest in advanced technologies and solutions, Compuserve in character held the door open for AOL to come in and within a few decades – kicked Compuserve out of the market entirely.• For many years, Craigslist has been seen but not heard by the newspaper market. Who could imagine anyone turning away from (the very lucrative) newspaper classifieds and placing their truth in certain bizarre ads on a weird website named after some (presumably bizarre ) man. Instead of knowing Craig Newmark’s business model and exploiting it, the paper business went on whistling, while Craigslist and friends – eBay, Google, etc – kept growing exponentially. And today, there’s a fantastic chance that the only place future generations will probably visit a paper, or at the classified section of a newspaper, will be in a museum.• We dwell in the Google Age, but we could be living in the Open Text age – that is, if the folks at Yahoo! and its own spouse Open Text had, in 1997, chose to not abandon their plans to create a search engine that may quickly and quickly scan files on the web and bring back search results. Their oversight was Google’s invite, since in 1998, Google started its search engine and, well, the rest is history (and, no doubt, the stuff of nightmares for the people in Yahoo! and Open Text that missed out on tens of thousands of billions of dollars in profits).• In the turn of this century, Apple and its own adviser Steve Jobs (yes, him again) were facing a very frightening problem: they did not have cash, their inventory was near useless, and it did not even have a CEO in the moment. So why didn’t Apple fade to oblivion? Evidently, Microsoft never realized that this tactical miscalculation could cost the company billions of dollars in lost profits and market share in PCs, digital devices and software. However, it did, and that’s why Bill is on the list.The Components of a Missed Business OpportunityWhile all of the shockingly big missed opportunities (and blunders) have different details and paint different pictures, it is insightful to check beyond the surface into the frequent denominator – because in doing so, it will become evident that there are a few key, frequent ingredients to each missed business opportunity. These include:1. Misjudging the marketplace. Every one of these sad tales wraps itself around a heart error, which is that the marketplace was woefully misjudged. Either markets which really did exist were assumed to be nothing (or, at best, not worthy of consideration), or even basic principles of what customers wanted was ignored in favour of what businesses wanted and figured were in their very best interest, rather than the customers’.2. Not seeing the warning signals. While hindsight is 20/20, it is reasonable to conclude that the writing was on the walls to get all these folks – and for a number of these, it’d been there for years if they would simply listen. But instead of studying the signs, accepting reality and making alterations, they pretended that everything was fine, or did an ostrich dip and insulated themselves against what was really happening. The irony here, of course, is that the men and women that were charged with viewing reality – the leaders – were the ones who had been dead-set on seeing anything but what was really occurring. In the long run, their collapse was much larger than them – it shattered whole companies to the ground.3. Not partnering with the right solutions supplier. All these businesses can be faulted for failing to look out of their organization. When they had, they’d have no doubt connected with the ideal solutions provider and obtained valuable access to knowledge, goods, services, channels and systems – any or all of that could have saved them out of economic catastrophe and a place on this list. To put it differently, they could not solve the problem in their own (believing they saw it at the first place) and failed to use partners to resolve it smartly and successfully.The Writing is on the Wall for the Beauty IndustryWe have seen how the 3 core mistakes identified above – misjudging the market; not seeing the warning signals; not partnering with the right solutions provider – have contributed to untold billions in losses for IT leaders who’d do anything to go back in time and undo the damage (and be the laughing stock of future generations). And chillingly, we can even see how these blunders are making their way into the Beauty Industry – specifically, in the way the Beauty Industry deals with men.Frankly, the Beauty Industry, for all of its combined intelligence and experience, is woefully neglecting men in its own product development, its marketing, its advertising and especially its own retailing. Why? Well, if you ask that the Beauty Industry, you won’t get an answer – because most industry insiders do not think there’s a problem! The few who dotheir dreams are so myopic they can not see their way to a definite solution. In fact, the conventional Beauty Industry would have you think that men generally, are well on their way to become’feminized’.It would be unfair to state the Beauty Industry made no attempt prior to producing products and marketing campaigns that”appeal to men”. However, the little that they did, is so far off the track that pulling the train back could be like getting it to stop on a dime. That’s no surprise since purposeful change from the ground up takes money – plenty of it. Yet because masculine men do not wield nearly enough purchasing power to catch the Beauty Industry’s attention, the Beauty Industry figures which you aren’t important enough to allow them to put money into a complete and expensive overhaul of the existing practices toward the promotion of men’s skin care and men’s anti-aging products.Anyway, the contemporary Beauty Industry as a whole, like some of their counterparts at the IT section that made the List, are still so confined by traditions and influences of their female roots that have defined the Beauty Industry for almost 200 decades, one doubts that they’d see the solution even if it were correct before their eyes.