What Can Cause Us to Fail

I was having a conversation with a friend last week when he asked me a seemingly innocuous question: What is the one thing that can cause us to fail? I thought for a minute and replied: Reliance on a single revenue stream. He argued that a business must have focus. My counter-point: At the early stage of a new industry, it is not obvious where the value creation will happen and what will be the dominant business model or revenue stream. In that scenario, one needs to be able to try out multiple different options and get quick learnings as to what will work and what will not. At that stage, it would be suicidal for a business to just bet on a single revenue stream assuming that is the only one which will work.

In our own mobility business,  we currently have two revenue streams: one derived from the audience that we have created via our SMS channels (SMS ads), and another from the technology platform that has been built (bulk push and invertising for enterprises). Both of these have helped us grow through the year. An exclusive dependence on just mobile ads would now have made the going tough for us as companies cut their media spends dramatically. Going ahead, there are a couple more streams that we need to explore: creating a cash balance for subscribers to pay for content and services, and white-labelling the SMS publishing, subscriptions and delivery platform for operators and others globally.