Entries in business (1)

Friday
Aug142015

Google’s alpha bet: I’m lovin’ it

Surprising but sensible. That seems to be the overriding reaction to Google creating Alphabet Inc – and I wholeheartedly concur.

Our hindsight is a fantastic demonstration of Larry Page and co.’s foresight. It was just the type of bold move that I love to see in business.

The corporate world has always been super-competitive. Innovation, backed by courage and cast iron conviction are now the only way to stay ahead of the competition.

Alphabet allows Google to keep its core function and identity, while creating a broader organisation that will specialise – and lead – in different fields.

It creates independence and enables companies under the Alphabet umbrella to channel Google’s values while being speculative, but planned and considered. By the same token, it significantly decreases the chances of harming the mothership.

Looking at another American giant, McDonald’s, shows that the reverberations from the changing consumer landscape can have major repercussions for any company that fails to keep pace.

For the first time in almost half a century, it will close more stores in the US than it opens this year.

McDonald’s has struggled from competition in the fast food market. One of its reactions has been to diversify its offering. While you must provide choice, McDonald’s has arguably gone too far and confused consumers. Sometimes it is better to focus on your core products and make sure they are better than anyone else’s, rather than trying to be all things to all people.

Pearson is an organisation doing just that. The publishing group has sold the Financial Times and its stake in the Economist it to concentrate solely on its educational operations and it should be congratulated for making such a decisive decision.

Selling one stellar marque worth hundreds of millions of pounds is a big deal. Selling two – in as many weeks – represents a seismic shift in strategy.

Now is a time of transition and adjustment for major brands in all sectors and the battle between old and new is fascinating. Look at Uber attracting a $50bn valuation, for example, and the shake-up it is causing in private transportation.

Predicting and embracing change is key to survival and the betting and gaming industry is no different, with big names undergoing transition and development in order to position themselves for the future.

William Hill – one of the largest and oldest bookmakers – has shown that tradition needn’t be a barrier to agility. It has embraced digital and its Innovation Labs show that it is looking to the future.

The prominence of today’s challenger brands, such as LeoVegas, BGO and Casumo, show how quickly the landscape can be altered.

The map is being re-drawn. Be aware. Be ahead.