046: Klaus Schwab – It’s not the big fish
“In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.” – Klaus Schwab
Klaus Martin Schwab is a champion for enterprise and economic improvement worldwide. He is best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. His accolades and honorary degrees awarded to him are most impressive. Although his work is mostly academic and activist-like, he’s actions have improved conditions for SMEs. Even though he’s not been an entrepreneur per se, his insight into the world of entrepreneurship is amazing. As evidenced by his quote.
I take to mean his quote refers to Lean Startups in particular. This kind of startup is small, easily adaptable and is poised to take on ‘the big boys’. Companies like Uber, YouTube, and AirBnB are all examples of Lean Startups that have made it big. I would argue that a lot of these companies retain a lot of their Lean characteristics even though they’ve grown big.
Where other big businesses are slow to move and adapt to changing market place conditions, these Lean Startups can either adapt better or totally disrupt the current marketplace. Due to this adaptation or disruption, Lean Startups can overtake the big businesses. Uber is a good example of disrupting the market and overtaking established taxi companies.
The core of Lean Startup methodology is the ‘Build-Measure-Learn’ principle. That is, build a minimum-viable-product (MVP), ship and measure the results of the product, then learn from the results to make an improved product or steer the company in a different direction based on the results. I guess it’s hard to distill an entire book’s worth of knowledge into one sentence. So do check out the book that is the source of this knowledge, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. I believe I’ve recommended this book before. I also believe it’s mandatory reading for all entrepreneur, along with Business Model Generation.
If you have other examples of how the small, but fast, business can overtake the big business, let me know in the comments below.
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