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The Emergence of the Agile Business

May 08, 2011 5:00 PM ETAAPL, GOOG, AABA, VZ, ATT
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Seeking Alpha Analyst Since 2010

Mr. Hewitt’s cradle to cradle vision of systems, utilities, and development won the role of developing the sustainable utility design for the Babcock Ranch which was recently announced as the Nation’s first all solar city. Mr. Hewitt started his career in Alaska where his private paging network became one of the first of its kind. He was elected to the local city council followed by an election to the Public Utilities Board of Fairbanks where he served as Chairman, including oversight of the combined utility system that included telephone, electric, water, sewer, and steam/hot water utilities. Personal blog: http://telephony.net

I remember clearly the first day of a new Internet search engine “Google” with its simple banner and viral like emergence from almost nowhere in late 1998.  The talk was all about how could someone like this displace Yahoo the dominate search engine at the time.

The rest is history and yet I see the same set of patterns in Apple with the success of iPhone and the iPad Apple has opened two new markets that have already displaced the control over applications in the mobile market that formerly were the domain of carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

Apple’s iOS provided a stable controlled environment for developers to easily develop many of their new ideas and monetize them though the single most important aspect of the overall ecosystem – the iTunes Store.  Steve Jobs knew that it was not enough to simple build appliances he understood the “Ecosystem” of the future.  I remember when Apple first went to Verizon to launch the first iPhone the Verizon executives flat rejected the change in their tight control over consumer and business applications sending them to the world of AT&T the only other major provider with a 3G network big enough to support their idea.  Again like Google the rest is history iPhone became the highest single device to impact wireless sales ever.  (We had a team working in advance with the AT&T provisioning team to ramp up their capabilities to handle the projected influx of new customers in the first 24 hours they doubled the projected new customer forecast and continued to ramp new customers and sales at an alarming rate.)

Today however Apple reminds me of Yahoo as Google quickly displaced them as the dominate search engine by the end of last century.  The Android O/S has already displaced Apple’s iOS as new customers, devices, and applications flock to the more robust and open environment offered under the Google development agreement.

This rapid displacement of technology has been well documented in Clayton Christensen book The Innovator's Dilemma “When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail” as Apple just like Yahoo became so attached to their control over the iPhone and iOS market they failed to adapt to the rapidly changing market.

Hence the emergence of the Agile Business; named for the successful development platform that emerged from early “Continuous Integration” development systems used by highly successful teams in the late 90’s and first decade of this century.  Today referred to as SCRUM Agile Development this method has been adopted by most every successful large scale product team including Yahoo, Google, Amazon, and yes Apple.

Today’s Agile business recognizes the need for short ‘Sprints’ of product and business development cycles the need to adapt and change are the core requirements to maintain a profitable and successful lead regardless of whether or not you operate a small business or the largest industry.

To learn more about Agile SCRUM development and how it applies to your investment strategy or just to operating your own business there are a number of excellent references and training systems available through the Scrum Alliance (http://www.scrumalliance.org/)

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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