I think the saddest thing is when the mighty fail…

I got a lot of emails’ responding to my post of yesterday on the reasons IBM, GooG, and MSFT are struggling. Most of them were asking if I was predicting that all three were going to fail. I am not, I’ve seen the Phoenix rise from ashes three times in the past 25 years (IBM) and have learned that predictions of their demise are always premature. I did predict that HP would struggle as it moved up the consulting world ladder, and knew that it would fail. But IBM won’t fail, they will just need to evaluate where they are and what they are doing now.

That said, one long time reader said if you were in charge of the cloud companies right now what would you do? What would you change about each of them?

1. IBM: Drop the IndieGoGo deal, stop playing on the edges of the IoT world. Commit to being the IoT, integration player. The future of that role is huge.

2. MSFT: Get some of the people you used to have, you need the competitive fire of the early 2000’s back. People always decry the leadership of Steve Ballmer but come on. He took a 12 billion dollar company to a 40 billion dollar company. HOW MANY PEOPLE DO THAT? Not many overall. Time to get some of the people that got you where you want to be again.

3. Google: It is time to move away from the Engineering culture, time to become a consumer company. Make the face of Google Google Home, not Google.com.

4. Amazon: you more than anyone needs to learn the lesson of IBM and MSFT. Get away from the engineering culture you have permeated for the past five years. Get some of the MSFT people from the early 2000’s that can help you move away from engineering towards a more creative and open environment.

All of my advice, of course, will fall on deaf ears. But watch, if one of the four companies mentioned picks this up the world is going to change quickly.

The reality I see now is that smaller more agile companies are going to be successful. Businesses that continue with the path they are on are going to be footnotes in the written history of this time.

There is a line many companies struggle with, the swagger of arrogance against the reality of failure. Based on that line most companies spend far too much time trying to avoid swagger and remove the failure. Failure is the best tool. I know from personal experience that in fact, the best way to learn how to do something is to fail first.

The problem for the four large companies listed is more that they think they can’t fail. The engineering mindset for all four is what will cause them to trip and fall.

I started my post yesterday asking how many pins can you put on the tip of a wizard’s wand. The answer remains Blue.