Apple’s use of an ecosystem – a group of complementary products and services that support one another and facilitate use by customers – is one key to its success, relative to the “a-la-carte” approach, such as the rest of the computer industry used when it came to offering hardware and software.
Recently, a group of us decided to just scout articles to see how often other companies, people and organizations were either moving toward building new ecosystems – to increase their value – or dismantling them to the detriment of their users. We thought we’d share two examples.
Increasing value – Over the past five years, Uber has taken the world by storm, offering a new convenient form of transportation to people who used care services, taxis, peers, etc. In addition to serving the customers, it also has created new job income opportunities for people willing to drive their own cars. It recently recognized it can increase the value of its ecosystem – by offering a program designed to facilitate financing of cards for drivers. It is now partnering with General Motors, Toyota Ford and several financial institutions to reduce drivers’ monthly payments and get them on the road faster. Uber isn’t doing any of the financing; its program helps drivers use their demonstrably reliable cash flows from Uber as a way to get around their spotty credit – since many are immigrants with poor or no credit history – to buy cars, especially those whose cars may not meet Uber’s standard of being under 10 years old! It’s playing middleman between drivers, the car salesmen and the autolenders. Drivers can borrow at better rates than they’d get in the open market, and autolenders, moves inventory by creating qualified buyers who didn’t previously exist. A Better Way for everyone!
Dismantling value – L. Gordon Crovitz in a Wall Street OpEd (Oct 20, 2014) wrote about some of the changes that are going to be taking place concerning the global internet. From the beginning of the internet boom, the US understood the value of guiding the nascent ecosystem and managed many aspects (such as Icann – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – the system for identifying URLS). The Obama administration, believing in a ‘multi-stakeholder” approach, now is unilaterally turning control over different elements to the other nations either directly or indirectly by turning it over the UN agencies. “It has allowed authoritarians using a UN agency to carve up what had been a world-wide web.” (For instance, the 40,000 privately managed networks among more than 400,000 global routes which have always which have always operated without regard to national boundaries, will be split into different versions of the internet – with access to some, like Google, Facebook and Amazon, to be closed – especially in countries escalating domestic censorship.).It plans to give up protection of Icann. “And by urging that the Internet be treated as a regulated utility in the US, it has strengthened the hand of the UN over the Internet globally”.
Have you encountered any recent examples demonstrating how ecosystems provide a better way to serve people? Share them with us all!