Culture and Business Models

  • January 5, 2016
  • Scott

TeamDoes culture dictate which business models will be winning ones for a company?  Or does the business model dictate which cultures can be successful?

In a post on “Killer Cultures” by Jean-Louis Gassée, he explores how different culture can be between two seemingly similar technical areas of a market. 

  1. IBM and its mainframe culture losing to DEC in minicomputers
  2. IBM and its PC industry, overthrown by the Windows-Intel duopoly.
  3. IBM had all the pieces to be first to the cloud, but Amazon has the dominant share.
  4. DEC and its inability to transition from minicomputer to PC
  5. Sun and its inability to compete with Intel microprocessors, or a world of 64-bit supercomputers in everyone’s pocket
  6. HP and its cultural split between instrumentation and computing.
  7. Microsoft and its’ failure to translate PC dominance into mobile phone OS dominance.

So can a company like Apple deliver the culture necessary to produce cars that never have a spinning beach ball or a BSOD?  As the author points out, quality is required at another level for a successful auto product, versus a successful phone or app. Lucky for us, we don’t have to answer this question, Apple might answer it for us (if they ever build cars!).

It also had me wondering if there are some companies just not equipped, culturally, to take care of customers the way we do.  And if that is cultural, as well as a reflection of business priorities, then it speaks to how important it is to maintain a culture of making every single customer matter – from day one.  Much easier to build on that foundation than to try to fix it later. As a company that earns a living providing service to customers, this is part of our culture and our business model. I’m not sure which comes first, but they’re tied at the hip for us.




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