Build Something that Doesn’t Last

Long-term success depends on one’s attitude.

Creating a strategy is like building a sand castle on the shore. Unfortunately, the tide will always come in and destroy your work.  Just ask every business leader before 705 AD and almost all of them since. Successful leaders must plan for it.

It’s inevitable.

Since nothing lasts forever (especially now), the way to be successful in the long run is to honestly consider a future without your current star product or business model.  No matter how hard it is, you need to start tearing down emotional connections to your successful past endeavors so you can plan ahead.

Don’t make your success a liability.

Just ask Circuit City about Best Buy, Montgomery Ward about Walmart, or Dell about Apple.  They all dominated the other before ultimately losing the lead. Circuit City had big box electronics retail figured out and  Montgomery Ward was famous for their catalogs.  Now my daughter doesn’t even know what a catalog is. Catalogs didn’t last.

Also look at Michael Dell.   He built an amazing company that took “on demand” manufacturing to a whole new level and was the poster child of  the best cost marketing strategy.  I remember reading in 2000 how analysts thought Dell would be hard to beat due to their strategy and economies of scale.  The “moat around them is too wide” they said. 10 years later Dell’s value is down almost 80% even though computer sales are up.

Their strategy didn’t last.

The winners will be companies like Apple, who plan for change because they see that products, companies, and even whole industries don’t last.  Apple didn’t think stand alone music players (iPod) would last, so they developed the iPhone.  They don’t think laptops will last, so they developed the iPad.  They’re building something that doesn’t last…and they know it.

It’s time we all did.

Today it’s time to start thinking about the future, the time when what you’re working on today is obsolete.  Plan for it.  Change before you need to.  Build something that truly lasts.

Have a great night,


Like this blog? Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email

Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

4 comments on “Build Something that Doesn’t Last”

  1. The requirements for a thing that is lasting are simple. Here’s five of the factors to help you measure your next great idea.

    1. It must do good
    2. It must be useful
    3. It must be easy
    4. It must replicate easily
    5. It must be viral in its DNA

    I have some ideas, myself. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter- if you’d like to explore the possibility of collaboration.


    Recently on my blog: Book of Carrot

  2. Hey Stan, thanks for all the RT’s and comments. This is good stuff.

    With this topic I might have bitten off too much for the shorter posts I prefer to write. I think people should build great products, just not assume that they will be cash cows forever.

    With that said however, they do need to make products/services that are successful. Otherwise they don’t have a future anyway. Your list offers some great thoughts on how to build products/services that will be successful.


  3. I agree with Stan but I would add one more requirement:
    1. It satisfies a need that people didn’t know they had.

    Some businesses think like the French Radical who said “There go my people. I must find out where they’re going so I can lead them.”

    That’s why Apple (I’m using them as an example because I use their products) wins over Dell. Instead of reacting to client’s needs, Apple will create a need with its solution. Why do you think all doctors now need an Ipad?

  4. I think that an even better example of adaptability can be made using operating systems. Sure, Apple competes with Dell to some degree, but the competition is REALLY about operating systems. Dell is nothing without Microsoft Windows. Apple’s true competitor is Microsoft, and almost always has been.

    In the days of desktops and laptops, Apple lost, and lost hard. Even worse off in the area of operating system market share was this looney thing called Linux, which wasn’t actually owned by anyone – just an unorganized mob of hippies. Microsoft reigned supreme, and still does as far as desktops are concerned.

    However, the opposite has happened in the relatively new area of mobile technology. The least popular operating systems have proven to be the most adaptable. You see, Microsoft never had to worry about making their software compatible with new hardware. All the hardware manufacturers did that for them, because, duh, everyone used Microsoft and if you didn’t support Windows yourself your hardware didn’t sell.

    Apple actually had to work to make their system compatible with hardware, but they limited the hardware so much in their sealed devices that this wasn’t much of a problem.

    Linux, on the other hand, became super versatile. NOBODY bothered to make their hardware compatible with Linux because, duh, nobody used Linux. However, those hippies worked night and day to make sure their precious operating system was so versatile that it could work with just about anything.

    It almost seems inevitable that, when the game moved to the mobile arena, everything got flipped upside-down. Microsoft’s share isn’t even a blip on the radar. Apple had a good run and completely put Microsoft to shame. However, Android, which is Google’s customized version of Linux, is now dominating and has all the momentum. Hooray for hippies!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.