Newton’s first law of motion, escape velocity and Steve Jobs

Newton’s first law of motion states that an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force. When applied to organisation, if you continue doing what you kept doing earlier i.e. you are in stage of inertia, your products will be subject to product life cycle shown below i.e. soon the product will become obsolete, as competitors will come with better products.

Every innovative product, sooner or later gets commoditized.

ProductLifeCycle_small[1]

If your organisation keeps using template of past to design its vision and strategic plans, you cannot progress much. To break from past, incremental changes are not enough, the gravitational force of past will pull you back, to break away completely from past you need escape velocity.

Escape velocity is the speed that an object needs to be traveling to break free of a planet’s gravity. More the mass of planet, more the speed required escaping that planet ex. for Moon it is 2.38 km/sec, for Earth it is 11.2 km/sec, for Jupiter 59.5 km/sec and for Sun it is 618 km/sec!

According to management expert Geoffrey Moore, in organisation, escape velocity is result of alignment of following factors.

  1. Category power- growth rate of category to which your offerings belong.
  2. Company power- status of your company w.r.t competitors
  3. Market power- Market share in targeted segments
  4. Offer power- How different is your product from that of competitors
  5. Execution power- How fast can you get things done.

escape velocity

Apple under Steve Jobs was able to generate escape velocity to get away from their traditional PC/Laptop market and get into new market with innovative products, making Apple world’s most valued company.

First, they looked at categories that were growing fast ex. music, mobility and media. Apple had a team that could come up with innovative products in these categories, something competitors did not have.

Then they got into market where there was no competition and offered their innovative products like ipod, appstore, iphone, ipad etc. They exhibited their execution skills when all these products were launched in less than a decade.

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