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It’s almost easier to answer when it’s the wrong time.
Because everyone else is doing it.
So when is the right time?
When it impacts your core business.
Disney is a perfect example of the discipline required to make that decision.
Did they start competing with Netflix when they were shipping DVDs?
No. Why compete with the new blockbuster?
Did they start competing with Netflix when they started streaming other studio movies?
No. Why compete with a network that airs on-demand reruns?
Did they start competing with Netflix when they started making original content?
Yes. Because the tech that Netflix had mixed with original content was a threat to Disney.
They took their time doing it. And some may say they were late. But not if you believe that original content is ultimately where it’s at for The Walt Disney Company. They were busy digesting Lucasfilm and Marvel Entertainment. Then they bought BAMTECH Media in 2016 signaling their intent to enter the streaming wars.
At my last startup Tonic Health, part of R1 RCM (a digital health company that sold software to large health systems), we had our own version of this related to Android.
Most of our deployments at hospital systems were on iOS. But then a prospect showed up who wanted Android. Android was picking up steam and we duplicated our platform. This was before we could write code on React Native and we had to keep two concurrent teams.
The problem was that since we started Android so late, it was always behind the iOS platform. We couldn’t overinvest because a single-digit percent of revenue was coming from Android. We did it to check the box. And it was the wrong move. We sunset our Android version a few years later.
So the real question we should all be asking is when does it make sense to couple the new tech with our core strategy? And if the answer isn’t clear, wait for it to become clear before going all in.
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When is the right time to implement and embed that new tech into your product?
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