A post written by Tor
started me thinking about business and product development, especially in
this age of online products. Classically, and not so many years ago, a company
would have years in which to develop and maintain a new product (such as
friends-reunited) and then have years to recoup any investment and of course profit!
However in the current markets, there are lots of people, with easy access to
both the talent and technologies (developers and already pre-scaled technologies
such as Amazon Web Services), that allows for almost any small startup to be
able to deliver a globally accessible and scalable web application in essentially
a very much shorter development cycle than many "classical" companies can manage.
This is less important in markets where the company is the sole provider of
goods and services, such as Satellite TV in the UK (BSkyB), where as an
effective monopoly the drive for innovation is less extreme, and that new
entrants to the markets cannot compete so directly, and hence normal free-market
conditions cannot happen.
Of course, all of this leads to the further development of "lean" development
methods, and driving fast development of new products and features, where you
are in a strongly competitive market.