I presented my idea of the Software Tree of Life at #LeanCoffeeKL #74. It was a pretty high concept session but I think it challenged everyone that attended. It certainly challenged me as the attendees brought up a number of interesting points I had not thought of. If you look at the full-sized whiteboard photo you will notice on the right a list of “Other Factors.” Other than the industry specific factors of which I alluded to in my last post, most of the points can be summed up into two considerations: 1) competition, and 2) capital.
I mentioned the red ocean of competition in my last post, but it was brought up that in the Regulated Enterprise Kingdom, there is are often very few competitors. The market is yours if you can get into it. If you already have an in, this will seriously impact your opportunity assessment calculus. Further to this, it was proposed that there is such a thing as a Regulated Consumer Kingdom, for example customer-facing software for banking or telecoms. An excellent point.
Capital wise, some branches of the tree take much more initial capital in order to enter. This could mean cash, physical capital and even knowledge capital. R & D costs to understand the domain before building a solution can be exorbitant for some industries. Having domain expertise on your team will be a must, and could be a high barrier to entry for you in these cases.
The final point that I would like to highlight from the session is something that I have talked about at length previously (eg. Getting customers in the enterprise) but did not make the connection with regards to the Tree of Life. It is the consumerization of the enterprise. This is a recent trend in technology and it is still far too early to determine whether or not will be all encompassing. However it is intriguing to consider the possibility of all of the top level branches of the Software Tree of Life merging into a single hybrid (note the green dotted lines on the whiteboard).
As entrepreneurs it is always beneficial to share stories and discuss the intricacies of daily startup operations. I maintain that it is also worth examining how the innovation ecosystem works as a whole from time to time. I think that is the part of being an expert in the field.