In his book “Digital Disruption”, James McQuivey talks about the new Power of One. He argues that historically the “power of the industrial economy was achieved by scale” – business economics growing proportionally to the number of employees. However, he now proposes that “it is no longer true that size of company matters” because individuals within an organisation can achieve major impact in new markets through the use of digital tools and by exploiting digital platforms.
The mobile app marketplaces are examples of these enabling platforms. They are business democratisers; providing SMEs like Linknode with the same ‘shop window’ as the biggest multinational for our solutions. Sure the advertising budgets are different but the ability to reach an audience with low costs and speed of delivery are unprecedented.
The big-big picture does not change – for Facebook and Google to become truly Global the corporate structure and employee count had to grow. The most widely recognised commercial brand symbols on Earth are still Coca-Cola and McDonalds (appearing alongside Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft in the latest 2013 Interbrand results). But upstarts like Face.com (11 people, $60m, Facebook 2011), Waze (110 people, $1.3bn, Google 2013) and Chomp (20 people, $50m, Apple 2013) are small fish fulfilling big appetites.
In 2012 a BBC article claimed that (due to US export restrictions) there were now only two countries in the world without sales of Coca-Cola (but undeniably still with a brand recognition and awareness). So how does Linknode, a company with approximately 0.001% of the value of Coca-Cola, (but with the Power of One) compare to this? Not bad actually…
In terms of population the CIA World Factbook puts the world population at a little over 7-billion. Linknode have had downloads from 146 countries representing over 6.6-billion people (94%). Even more staggering is that when comparing the country reach against GDP we are present in almost the 98th percentile. Can you imagine what it would have taken to achieve that before the Internet?
These figures from our company are, of course, without consideration of ability to pay, demographics of mobile phone ownership or accounting for some discrepancies in political boundaries and state change, but I think they prove a point that the Power of One is significant disruptor in the digital economy.
For reference, these are the counties served by distribution in which we have not had a download – I would be very interested to hear if other independent developers (ie not creating apps for global brands) have reached these targets. Perhaps they are just not served by mobile phone partners of Nokia and Microsoft?
Belize, Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Faroe Islands, Fiji, Gabon, The Gambia, Greenland, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Lesotho, Liberia, Lichtenstein, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Mongolia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Zambia.
This is based on Linknode’s Windows Phone country downloads (146) against the potential market defined by the marketplace. Since we last ran the analysis 6-months ago we have reached over 40 new countries from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe.