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Unicorns and Global Digital Disruption: Part I

July 28, 2015 - 2 Comments

Today, we’re in a digital disruption age where “software is eating the world”, We see “Kingmakers” globally designing, hacking, and producing “Unicorns” that are impacting both your business and Data Center.

How kingmakers and unicorns are disrupting your data center

How Are They Doing This?

Well, technology is driving the boom. Smartphones, cheap sensors, and cloud computing are enabling new Internet-connected services that are infiltrating the most tech-averse industries. At our recent Cisco Live, I couldn’t agree more with a common theme “Disrupt or be Disrupted”, because ‘software is eating the world’ in today’s app economy. We see this digitizing and disrupting businesses, countries, and entire industries unrivaled since the Industry Revolution. If you want to learn more, be sure to read Marc Andreessen’s WSJ Op-Ed, where he outlines this phenomenon.

So where do the Unicorns come in?

Here come the Unicorns

Pre-IPO tech startups with $1 billion market values used to be fantasy. This is where the silicon valley term “Unicorns” got coined. For example – Google was never worth $1 billion as a private company and neither were Amazon nor any of the original dotcom class. Today, Fortune Magazine counts 80+ startups valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists. One thing becomes clear: startups have the access to tools, capital, and a Go-to-Market reach like never before in today’s world of fast, technological movements, where new Internet-connected businesses are disrupting whole industries. Just look at Uber, the on-demand car service, that is worth $41.2 billion – Uber has a higher valuation than the market capitalization of at least 70% of the Fortune 500 companies.

Today, Unicorns are building new business models and customer experiences. How? Well, just take a look at:

  • New software enabled platforms that optimize supply and demand like cars and apartments or labor like delivery couriers for on-demand anything. With two clicks on your phone, you can rent a neighbor’s apartment or their unused car for an hour.
  • Hungry and want a healthy meal now? You can swipe twice with the App Sprig and an organic locally sourced hot meal, for $10, will be delivered to your door within 15min as you watch on your phone.

Amazon disrupted Brick and mortar retail. Air BNB did the same with hospitality. Unicorns, whether private or public companies, bring us into a new age filled with online and mobile customer experiences disrupting value chains across industries. However, this is only the beginning .

Unicorns Love to Eat Data

Today, we also live in the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, where 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020 and the threats and opportunities are infinite. Experts predict 40% of Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist ten years from now. Unicorns will displace both existing companies and industries. And with IoE, this means $19T IoE-enabled economic opportunities are up for grabs over the next 10 years. Whether Internet 2.0, Industrial Internet, or IoE, it’s remarkable and undeniable the world is getting connected.  As software continues to eat the world, new connections, customer experiences, and business models will produce both threats and opportunities to existing companies.

Stay Tuned

Now that you know a little more about the “what”, stayed tuned for my next blog where I’ll walk you through the “how” and what this means. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment or continue the conversation with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for reading!


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  1. You said, “Unicorns, whether private or public companies, bring us into a new age filled with online and mobile customer experiences disrupting value chains across industries.”

    More often than not, the innovation that causes the market disruption you describe is built upon a foundation of Open Source software. If Andreessen were to update his quote for today’s marketplace, he’d likely say the ‘Open Source Way’ is eating the world — clearly, it’s apparent that the go-to-market environment has evolved since his August, 2011 Op-Ed.

    • David, I totally agree with you that the role of Open Source has evolved greatly and is the engine fueling startup agility and scale like we have never seen before. This was a key premise of “The New Kingmakers”. When in doubt, open source will win vs proprietary.

      It’s probably just semantics and framing, but the ‘software eating the world’ is more about the disruption and new business models to me. Traditional enterprises theoretically have access to the same open source tools, but it’s the classic Innovator’s dilemma and a lack of agility that cause them to be disrupted by Unicorns. Netflix, Uber, or Lyft are not open source solutions themselves that are eating the world, however, many of their app developers are relying on open source sw and tools to hack their way (+ proprietary cloud solutions in some cases). I guess in my view the software eating the world premise is just as true now as 2011, and is more focused on the end application/customer experience and resulting disruption, not simply the SW inputs as apart of the SDLC of the apps which likely are open source.

      Either way, I am with you on the Open Source way. #OpenStack