Seth Godin has this excellent post on Verizon turning down iPhone business from Apple.
Given the mass hysteria, it’s probably not so good to be Denny Strigl this week. He’s the COO at Verizon quoted with pride about turning down the iPhone deal (Verizon turned down iPhone’s advances.)
The reason you need to care about this: Almost everyone is like Denny.
Most innovative business people who dream of bizdev imagine that they can be just like Steve Jobs. Come up with a super idea, a useful service, a great gizmo and go to an industry leader. Sign lots of NDAs and go to lots of meetings. Demand that they change their ways in order to make your wonderful innovation a game changer, something that will fix their broken industry and make you both a lot of money.
Hey, Steve Jobs himself couldn’t do it at…
The million dollar question on Web2.0, SaaS, RFID and so many other issues for many of us is – are you going to be like AT&T or Verizon? And how do you know. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I look at glass half full or half empty? This is not a spiritual or philosophical question although it does come from your very way of being. Verizion tried to figure out what %-age of the pie they will get (its-not-fair argument) rather than how can I turn this into a great opportunity for both sides.
- Am I trying to hold back the inevitable? Imagine yourself in Verizon’s shoes – the COO didn’t turn down iPhone business (at least not in his mind) – he was trying to ‘preserve balance to the force’ by not letting equipment manufacturers and value added service providers become the dominant player in mobile. I doubt game theory arguments will do him any good now though.
- Are you denying reality? Mickey Mouse taught us many years back that eventually you have to look down and see that you have walked off the cliff, and when you do – gravity will kick in. Its useful for businesses and individuals to check in with reality every now and then. If you think selling 50K worth of boxes and software to a restaurant for a POS system is going to fly in 2 years, you must stop and look below.
- Are you giving up because of “your Verizon”? In your work and personal life, you will get turned down and rejected by your version of a Verizon – the trick is to keep looking and not give up. However, make sure you do look down (see previous bullet).
And if you need more motivation, read up Guy Kawasaki’s blog. He turned down the Yahoo! CEO role many years ago (pre-IPO) costing him billion dollars plus. And he is a very smart guy.