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Innovating internally: Do we own or rent markets?

Max Farrell is the co-founder of Create Reason, an innovation experience firm that instills a culture of intrapreneurship inside established companies.
 
We don’t own markets, we merely rent
I wrapped up a presentation recently and was asked by an attendee about the rise of competitors from unexpected industries. Specifically, this attendee worked for a payments company, but was surprised to now see competition from tech companies like Apple and Google with such products as Apple Pay and Google Wallet. 
 
Surprised by this concern, I was reminded of a quote by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen:
 
 
Andreessen’s argument is that technology-infused companies will be the winners of markets in the future. Now this doesn’t mean new startups will necessarily take over, but the emphasis is that the groups that evolve in markets to meet customer demands will win. 
 
Let’s be honest: It’s terrifying to have billion dollar players with a reputation like Google, Amazon or Apple step on your turf. Especially if you and your firm have been the “industry leader” for decades and know “the ins and outs.” 
 
The hard truth: Being the industry leader doesn’t matter any more. 
 
One of the most profound statements I heard recently summed up this evolution: 
 
“We don’t own markets. We merely rent space in them."
 
Think about that for a second.
 
The industries that we think we “own" and bet our careers on are no longer a guarantee. We have to fight every day to remain relevant and win whatever marketshare we have.  
 
It’s a terrifying evolution, but one that makes sense.
 
Take checks for example. For many, they are still the backbone of some businesses, but there are five companies, like Dwolla, out to make payments purely digital.
Financial planners are usually face-to-face, right? Well now there are five-plus financial planning tools like Learnvest that can be used solely online.
The idea of insurance agents? Every aspect of the insurance experience can be completed without interacting with another person. 
 
A number of eye-opening shifts are coming to life. 
 
The beauty of realizing this evolution is that we can do something about it. 
 
My challenge to you: Take a look around and find three other competitors that may not be on your radar. 
 
If anyone believes there are no up-and-comers in their market, send me a note and I’ll help point them out, because I assure you, the competition is there. 
 
If we only rent markets, we have to make sure we’re able to pay up before we get our prime position snatched away. 
 
It’s a tough game. Welcome to the renter’s market of 2015 and beyond.  

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Let's keep the conversation going: 

Max startupEmail: max@createreason.com

Twitter: @MaxOnTheTrack / @CreateReason

Web: CreateReason.com

FB: facebook.com/createreason

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