In modern business we are plagued by the almost cancerous pursuit of MORE. More market share, more revenue, more customers. More. More. More!

In 2007 Nokia had a market capitalisation of $200bn. When it was sold, four years later it was only worth $7bn. Thats a 97% decline in value on 4 years. What killed Nokia? Our company, Watermark Research House has been studying the demise to see what we could learn:

1. Arrogance 

Nokia lead so much that they stopped being paranoid. They believed their platform didn’t have challengers. When they introduced innovation like cellphone gaming and interactive USSD, they shifted their markets and their competitors had to follow suit.
The hubris of success is a dangerous thing. When everything you do succeeds, you forget that the trick to success is to remain humble to the knowledge process.


Nokia didn’t see the Android platform coming. They were innovating within the Eco-system. They needed to innovate extraneous of their value chain or ecosystem. The trick is to understand that the forces that are impacting your business today, are NOT THE TRADITIONAL FORCES in your line of sight.

Bookshops didn’t see Amazon coming. Encyclopedia Brittanica didn’t see Google coming. Hilton Hotels didn’t see Airbnb coming. Mxit didn’t see WhatsApp coming. 

The forces that are changing your business are not the forces you are worried or even thinking about.


3. Hedge your bets

Nokia didn’t even explore the idea of a different platform – away from Symbian – for their users. They thought Android was an inferior technology. It was an inferior product but the technology and its philosophy was superior. Remember that where your competitors start, is not where they will stay forever.

Aim to be the best at hat you do, not the biggest. 

Speaker. Investor. Disruptor