“Ecosystem” is one of the most commonly used, and of course, abused words. What is an ecosystem?
It is our football coach in the primary who loved to say to us “don’t stay with the ball, pass it on. Get the ball, and quickly pass it on to your teammates.” And I think that is where the idea of chasing the ball came from.
For the team to win, players must work as a team. If one gets a ball and tries to run with it alone, they may not go far. To win, focus on passing on the ball to your teammates, and if you don’t have the ball, run and go find it.
The concept of the ecosystem business model comes from that simple principle. “The more you think about your success, the less you succeed.” You must craft your business to cause society at large to benefit from it. The more you think about other people’s success, the more you succeed.
The more a footballer thinks about his success, the less he succeeds. Great players think about the team dynamics. Always on the lookout for whom to pass the ball to. That way, the team wins.
Take the example of Uber.
When Uber came into the market, its leaders asked themselves how do we make other people succeed in a way that they make us succeed as they win? They came up with the Uber application whereby, the car owner or rider must first register, and once they do, customers can easily find them. On one hand, the rider is allowed to find customers by Uber. Every time a passenger hails a car using the Uber app, the rider earns income and pays a commission to Uber. When a driver quits the Uber Application, they are no longer visible to potential customers. They lose out. Finding a market is the toughest call. Uber considered how to create a market for anybody who has a car or a motorcycle. In their business model, Uber was thinking about other people’s success.
We are now having Unicorns or Universal Corporations, i.e., companies being valued at more than US$1BN. Amazon said there are many publishers and sellers of products but how do we give them to market. They came up with the Amazon marketplace, which has changed the way the world does commerce. This is the thinking you need to ahead in your business. How does your business empower the rest to succeed? What is your business model?
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Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, Mr. Strategy 2021. All rights reserved