Monthly Archives: August 2016
Depending on your age, at least one of these three ‘format wars’ should sound familiar:
I think there are at least three special things that helped the ‘winner’ in each of these ‘wars’. I’ll be using a framework from a previous post (Want An Effective Solution? Work On Its Acceptance!) so take a read if the equation Q x A = E doesn’t sound familiar to you.
Lesson 1 – The ‘consumers’ of the change make the choice
The 8 Track was seen as the successor to vinyl records with the awesome feature of being able to skip to INDIVIDUAL SONGS! In addition, they were much more portable than vinyl…and players could be installed in cars.
So why did the 8 Track lose out? Price and reliability. The cassette didn’t have a quality advantage but it was a few dollars cheaper and longer lasting. Consumers chose based on their needs, not just product quality.
If you want your solution to be accepted, figure out what the ‘consumers’ of it need.
Lesson 2 – Quality isn’t always king
Sony’s Betamax format was more reliable and had higher resolution than JVC’s VHS format. However VHS initially had twice the capacity and later four times (Beta’s 60 min vs VHS’ 240 min)…and this made all the difference.
Consumers didn’t want to switch tapes when recording a movie or sporting event, even if the resolution was better.
Don’t be fooled by thinking your solution will win out on quality alone.
Lesson 3 – Competitors can quickly become allies
From 2006 to 2008, Sony’s Blu-Ray and Toshiba’s HD DVD fought to become the standard for high definition video. Cost was initially the differentiating factor with each solution having some minor technical differences. Both companies quickly created alliances with manufacturers of consumer electronics as well as film studios.
Both sides had key wins in the ‘battle’ but the turning point was when Warner Brothers defected from HD DVD to Blu-Ray. Within a few weeks, Blu-Ray was the clear winner as most other major manufacturers abandoned HD-DVD.
Keep your eyes open for possible alliances that can change the game.
We just covered a few lessons here…what have you experienced?