When I had been younger, one of the best songs was entitled “Birth, School, Work, Death”. Those were the times once I was inspired by English punk rings. I was taking into consideration the GodFathers, who performed this song, while I was reading Megan McArdle’s article about government and the Affordable Care Act. I like McArdle’s take on politics, society, and business.
Unlike a great deal of journalists, she’s acquired business experience and comes with an outsider’s take on many topics I find refreshing. But she dropped into a capture lately about innovation. That is where Birth, School, Work, Death come in. The Godfathers were arguing that of life could be summed up in four significant activities, and that the path was predestined.
It was all a bit fatalistic. You are born, go to college, you work and you die. Megan, in her article connected above, was applying a corollary to businesses. A business is borne, is interesting and innovative for a short spurt, ossifies, and matures, and dies then. That is clearly a rather fatalistic viewpoint on business, but one I have to admit seems rather true. A sort of Birth, Innovate, Defend, Ossify, Die mantra for business.
It’s true that lots of businesses proceed through this cycle. In the past, the design and stages were almost predictable. A business was born, grew through a long time slowly, created a number of interesting products and services, and settled into an extended maturity and eventual obsolescence. Firms would proceed through …