Almost 18 months back, I wrote a blog post on the pac-manning of the social application market. The big vendors were gobbling up the small vendors and trying to outsmart their competitors. Yadda, yadda, yadda, it hasn’t stopped. And so while the mega vendors cobble together their social offerings and the entrepreneurs stay on as GMs or leave to start new companies, the people left in the lurch are the customers.
I know this isn’t a new story. M&A has been around since the beginning of business-time and changes in business performance have been a result ever since.
So in the spirit of the holiday season, let me present a seasonal take: a Christmas tale for each of our three characters: the acquirer, the acquiree, and the customer.
You are the modern day Santa Claus and you’ve earned it. What you’ve provided your customers over the years are gifts that help them keep their companies alive (and sometimes coal, but hey!) You’ve cobbled together a rag-tag bunch of reindeer to help you deliver your “gifts” via sleigh over the years but you’ve just found this new reindeer with a bright red nose to help light your way to a successful Christmas. As you bring this new reindeer, Rudolph, on board you need to keep one very important thing in mind. If you break Rudolph’s helpful, holiday spirit or if you are too busy teaching Rudolph how to guide your sleigh, to actually let him guide your sleigh, your customers who would ordinarily receive your gifts are going to be displeased and might stop believing in Santa Claus.
Rudolph with your nose so bright, everyone is going to want you to guide their sleigh tonight. At first the other reindeer laughed at you but the customers found you to be so interesting, useful, shiny and new that the other reindeer had to pay attention. Now Santa has courted you and you’re heading to the North Pole, the envy of all of your peers. Don’t forget it was the customers who got you there. You might have a shiny nose, but they figured out how to use it and they were so ecstatic about your nose that Santa took notice. When Santa brought you to the North Pole, you weren’t you anymore…and that is okay because you’re working toward a greater cause…but don’t lose emphasis on who helped you get where you are in an attempt to fit in or trump Santa’s other reindeer.
Sorry bro, you’re just a kid and life is a nightmare. We can hope Santa does the right thing, but sometimes Santa is just in the bright-nose collection business and doesn’t recognize Rudolph for anything but his good looks. But if you’re patient and give Rudolph, Santa and the other reindeer time to get to know each other, you may get more gifts, better gifts, coordinated gifts with no repeats. The question you have to ask yourself is do you have the time to wait for that dream to become a reality or should you start looking for a new reindeer?