Sizing up your opponent
Most people know the story of the young Israeli sheepherder, David, beating the over-sized Philistine warrior, Goliath. David’s sling provided a modicum of control so that he could project his stone to an unprotected spot on his opponent’s forehead between his eyes. This allowed the small guy to bring the giant down remotely – without getting in harm’s way. Broadly applied, you might call David’s weapon a remote controlled stone. You might.
The concept of the little guy getting the best of the Enterprise-sized giant is familiar in the business world. So much so, that an Indie Public Relations firm has called itself David & Goliath. You’ve doubtless seen their Kia Stinger and Jack in the Box ads.
To broaden even further to our common theme of technology, let’s apply the paradigm of David vs. Goliath to the world of data gathering. If we name the giants as Facebook and Amazon, what might we conclude? That there’s a David out there somewhere ready to take them down; that the benefits of Big Data, IoT and the Internet itself, give the needed advantage to overcome the data giants; that if you are a giant, it’s best to stay hidden, secretive and out of line of sight of the many targeting Davids.
Stay out of sight or your business will be disrupted. That’s the view of William Davies in this quote from his online opinion article, Short Cuts. “Better a world full of snake-oil merchants like Cambridge Analytica, who eventually get caught … than a world of vast corporate monopolies such as Amazon and Facebook, gradually taking on the functions of government, while remaining eerily quiet about what they’re doing.” Admittedly, the silence of the giants is deafening. Davies uses the word “eerily” to describe corporate silence that seeks to stay out of sight. I wonder if a better word would be “ominous.”
Maybe it is best to stay quiet and out of sight. Maybe. Goliath was a champion of renown. He openly boasted of his claim of superiority. And he’d proven his ability sufficiently to boldly bear the label champion. But there came a day when he met his match. Business disruption is a reality even for the giants.