While flipping through the channels this weekend I couldn’t help but be sucked into watching a Star Wars Marathon. These movies have proven to last the test of time and remain favorites to many people young and old. But as I wasted a good part of my Saturday afternoon/evening watching these classics I couldn’t help but think to myself that George Lucas should have stopped at “Return of the Jedi”. So the question remains, at what point does something not get any better?
In thinking about this I couldn’t help but apply to other facets of business. How many times does a car manufacturer continue to release new models of a car that has clearly run its course? You could make this case with the Ford Taurus. It had a good run in the 90s, but shortly after in the early 2000s, car sales declined. Ford chose to discontinue the model and in a last ditch effort to save a line of cars, they revived the Taurus name in 2007 renaming the Ford 500 and the Freestyle the 2008 Taurus and 2008 Taurus X.
Technology companies are no different. Without a commitment to continuous innovation, some companies choose to make minor tweaks to an already declining and saturated product. Before profit margin is completely drained, the technology has already become obsolete. Hence Nokia phones and the next on the list – RIM. But these are publicized examples, other technologies that have critical business applications could soon deservingly make our “Innovate or Die” list.
I am a strong believer that if you spend the time and money to make something better, make sure it is better. Time and time again we see this happen. Whether it is the long list of Nicholas Sparks books or the notorious social media innovator and icon, MySpace. When is enough actually enough? Don’t ruin a good thing or prolong a bad one.
- Eric Davis, National Channel Manager