Jennifer B. Davis
"The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky." - Solomon Short.

At Intel and other large companies a lot of effort is spent on creating and fostering the right ecosystem of "fellow travelers" who have complementary technology offerings that together create markets, foster solutions, and refer each other to their customer bases. This is the network effect in application, but is also a lesson for each of us about the power of network effects, tangential legacies, and unintended consequences.

There is a group of companies and ideas that get pulled along in the wake of a business success. How many companies today make their living from selling iPod accessories? Case in point. Some are more obvious than others, but if there is a business success, you can point to dozens of related industries or companies that benefited. The invention of the car lead to fundamental changes in our national character, but also created huge fuel distribution networks, after market services and products, and a whole set of media outlets dedicated to the product category. Even something a simple as the invention of wall-to-wall carpet, meant the creation of carpet laying jobs, carpet cleaning services, and a host of home applicance innovations. No one would buy a Roomba today if there wasn't modern floor covering options. It is always a wise business strategy planning tool to think about who else would succeed if your business succeeded, and look for active ways to partner.

As the quote I started with illustrates there are even connections made to unsuccessful intiatives. No one remembers who battled in the War of 1812 (the US and the UK), but there isn't a Fourth of July celebration that doesn't include the playing of the epic anthem. This is an important lesson when facing disappointing results or an outright "train wreck" of failure. Who would benefit from this failure? Who would be best served by the education gained by this experience (however painful)? In the case of the composer, the war itself was an asset. Your failure can be your greatest asset as well, depending on your ability to learn from it.
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