Beware of turbulence

Business is about selling stuff

There’s an old saying in business “Nothing happens until you sell something”.

How true this is. In business no matter what you develop, a product, service, app or software, there is little point unless you make a sale. After all, the best definition of business is: “Creating wealth through profitable transactions”. In short, sales need to be made.

In our previous article, we discussed some of the essential ingredients of a good idea. Now perhaps we can look at this from a slightly different perspective, the market and the rate of innovation.


The term market turbulence generally refers to volatility in the stock market, but that term may equally be used in relation to products and services and more particularly the rate of innovation.

Many years ago we became involved with a US-based company that was investing heavily in a modular plug-in segment for computer mechanical hard drives. The idea being that as the drive became full you could replace a segment with a new piece, thus providing additional storage. The idea was steeped in technical challenges but good PR attracted a lot of investors. The outcome unfortunately was a dismal failure. The rate of change or, as we prefer to say, turbulence in that market, especially computer memories in the mid-1990s was incredible.

A costly example

In Australia, the National Broadband Network, (NBN) rollout across the vast continent of Australia represented a massive investment, underpinned by fibre technology that required a physical connection to each customer.

A physical connection – wow – a big mistake and a throwback to times of old.

It doesn’t take much imagination to realise the folly of this vastly expensive experiment. In some ways, it harks back to the idea of a copper cable network requiring a physical connection to every customer. This physical connection was of course rendered obsolete by the ubiquitous cellular phone network.

The NBN is now operating as a somewhat “flaky” communications network with a mix of last-mile technologies, all soon to be rendered obsolete by the march of technology with 5G, soon 6G and a proliferation of private satellite networks with global reach, all operating to over-run the NBN, even before it is finished.

What’s the message?

Working in markets where change is both rapid and unpredictable carries a lot of risks; there are better spaces to operate. Always consider carefully where it is you invest your innovation dollars and avoid turbulent markets, especially those steeped in technology.