Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not often not one, but two, former companies are blogged

Before getting sucked into the Internet vortex, I was in the cable industry. Yeah, we only made the equipment that enables you to be on the Internet (or watch video) in the first place (if you're a cable customer, that is.)

Let's just say that this industry is not at the forefront of blogging and social media. These companies aren't blogging, and there aren't a ton of folks blogging about them. GigaOM is the most prominent blogger covering the broadband market, but even he/they don't talk about the equipment makers all that often. GigaOM has mentioned Terayon (former company #1) only 4 times in the last three years, and Harmonic (former company #2) only 3 times. And 2 of those references overlap. And one of those is the mention today, a post entitled "Motorola may buy Terayon."
"The sweet irony - cable modem shipments are hitting a new record - and one of the early cable modem pioneers is being sold like a purple velvet jacket from the 1960s only Austin Powers would love. [Ed: the purple velvet jacket would be Terayon.] [snip] Good reminder for all those who are entrepreneurs amongst us - no matter how hot a start-up you might be today, it takes less than a decade to go from headline to being a mere footnote in technology history!" [Ed: Emphasis his.]

Harmonic is mentioned as a potential suitor getting beaten out by Motorola.

I'd just like to say that on face value Om's comment seems to be a comment on the vagaries of the market, or the fickleness of technology consumers whether B2C or B2B, or the fast pace of technology development that can leave pioneers in the dust.

That may be true too, but make no mistake: all the technology entrepreneurs Om is warning should take a different lesson. Namely: don't let success or attention or praise for your innovations go to your head and make you feel invincible. You can still make really bad decisions when you're flying high. You can make bad hiring decisions, bad spending decisions, bad roadmap decisions, bad sales pipeline decisions.

Sometimes it's those decisions themselves that will bring you down from so high to so's those decisions that can precipitate such a nasty fall...not the mere erosion of advantage that all companies risk suffering at the hands of passing time.

And sometimes it's those decisions that will weaken you in ways that aren't obvious until some inevitable economic or market downturn requires everyone to tighten their belts and try to survive the cold, long winter.

I'm just sayin'...

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