Care for a bit of optimism on behalf of the American worker/consumer? Hemant Taneja , a managing director at General Catalyst , says that while we are living in a grim time for the "little guy," good things are coming. There is a paradigm shift underway, and it has everything to do with accessible technology and "unscaling." From the Harvard Business Review online: But the tide is about to turn. A series of breakthrough technologies and new business models are destroying the old rule that bigger is better. By exploiting the vast (but cheap) audience afforded by the Internet, and taking advantage of a host of modular services, small becomes the new big. The global business environment is decomposing into smaller yet more profitable markets, so businesses can no longer rely on scaling up to compete, but must instead embrace a new economies of unscale. Unscaling has emerged over decades. FedEx offered overnight delivery services in the 1970s, letting anyone ship a product anywhere, fast, at a modest cost. Around the same time, Chinese companies like Foxconn were developing less expensive approaches to manufacturing, and opening those facilities up to product designers across the globe. These two changes alone allow a lone innovator in Austin to build a world class product in China and ship it to Berlin — and that’s a revolution for someone with a good idea. Two decades later, Amazon and eBay launched online marketplaces that allowed small businesses to sell their goods to global consumers, creating enormous marketing power even for the little guy. However, like an orchestra missing several of its musicians, these platforms did not offer the complete ensemble needed for small businesses to compete effectively. That has now changed. New platforms abound: Facebook and Twitter for social marketing, YouTube for video distribution, and iPhone and Android for mobile. Payment processing was once a legal and financial nightmare, but today companies like Stripe and Square have made it simple for anyone. Using such tools, companies that embrace economies of unscale compete with far larger competitors. Warby Parker offers prescription eyeglasses over the Internet at $99 a pair in dozens of attractive styles. They leverage a whole range of services — from the logistics of parcel carriers like UPS to customer analytics software and social media marketing — to build a new business with extremely high customer satisfaction rates. With only a couple dozen employees, they have taken on the world’s largest manufacturer and seller of glasses, Luxottica, which last year had a market cap greater than $13 billion. Read Economies of Unscale: Why Business Has Never Been Easier for the Little Guy here .
Filed under: jobs, global business, startups, harvard business review, social media, new technology, technological advancement, sharing, share economy, Hemant Taneja, General Catalyst