TECH TALK: Extreme Competition: Foreword

I recently wrote a foreword for a book entitled Extreme Competition by Peter Fingar. I have reproduced the foreword here. In later columns this week, I will excerpt sections from the book. This is what I wrote:

Todays world looks very different from the vantage point of where I reside here in Mumbai, India. It is a world full of infinite opportunities as companies seek to leapfrog the legacy of decades of slow development. It is a world with youthful energy and money being unleashed as one navigates the new malls and restaurants coming up all over. It is a world where mobile phones connect people who never used a landline beforeand perhaps will never use a desktop computer, opting for more advanced NetPCs and wireless devices of all manner.

It is also a world where the services juggernaut in urban India is complemented by the largely agricultural rural economy, where hundreds of millions still live in poverty. Its a world where the old still exists and, at times, even dominates the new. The contrasts may be stark, but there is one thing that is ubiquitous in my homeland: Optimism! For the first time in living memory, there is a belief that tomorrow will be better than today. That perception alone can make all the difference. I see not just the Old India of yesterday, but the New India of tomorrow. It is an India that will be built in a world of extreme competition, and extreme opportunitiespowered by transformations and disruptions.

Disruptions are technological shifts that can provide opportunities for newcomers to take on incumbentsand perhaps usurp their power. It happens all the time. Todays king is not guaranteed to be tomorrows emperor. We have seen this in history and politics, and we also see it in business. While at times, incumbents hasten their downfall by questionable decisions (in retrospect), at other times entrepreneurial start-ups, with some luck, race their way to the top. While there is no magic formula, understanding disruptions and key trends is crucial for success. This is the journey Peter takes us throughfrom business process transformation creating real-time enterprises, to the combined buying power of the billions in the worlds emerging, underserved markets. Todays world is one of complexity, but a thorough understanding of the underlying principles can help in reaching new markets and customers.

I am a strong believer that there is a tectonic shift taking place in the world. The East is rising. And with a reverse brain drain of talent taking place from the West, innovations are now starting to flow from the worlds emerging marketswith the potential to blowback to the developed nations. Todays non-consumers are becoming the new battlegroundbecause their delight will shed light on the economic future of all nations. What is needed is an understanding of the present to build a vision of the future. Extreme Competition provides the needed framework to peer through the fog of today, and unravel the contours of tomorrow.

Tomorrow: The Book

TECH TALK Extreme Competition+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.