Many years ago in the early days of the .com era, I was lucky enough to work on a project that incubated technology startups, with each one of these startups grouped together to form a micro-cooperative. These businesses we called ‘gorillas’, perhaps they were the v0.1 disrupters.
After a tour around the hip and trendy warehouse, I asked what the expected success rate of an embryonic startup reaching IPO would be. It’s 1 in 20 normally but here we are looking at a success rate of 1 in 15. What could go wrong I thought.
Many of the startups had ideas ahead of the technology. It was the days of WAP a pseudo smart interface for a basic mobile phone that could do basic banking or bookings for example. Some of the startups had ideas that I thought would just fly – but they did not.
Each startup was building a technology and then trying to shoehorn this into something that would bring business rather than solving a business problem.
But a smart few at least really got the idea that solving a real problem is often the better construct for success.
Well many of you who are old enough know what happened next. The great .com crashed and with it swept away not just over inflated tech companies selling nothing but hot air and not just the baby gorillas with their boundless enthusiasm, but the entire company and with it obliterating some compelling innovation and perhaps some lack-lusting ideas too.
Thinking back to those fun times in the late 90s when it was full of energy and innovation, it is wonderful to see it coming back for now. Some 20 years later, the gorilla is back and it’s called the disruptive Company or FinTech. Perhaps the day of the gorilla has finally come.
I learnt that technology should drive business output with measurable outcomes just like the few that made it out of the starting block way back in the 90s. So with a great idea and business model to match, I’d love to see the mighty gorilla walk free again.