As you might know, Germany has decided to end using brown coal as an energy source – and that even faster than initially planned: 2030 instead of 2038 – and this will obviously have an effect, especially in the regions where they are depending on the coal, for cheap electricity to industry, a major source of employment, stability, and prosperity.
To help alleviate the transitional pain, public funds have been made available and regional projects have been formed to support the affected regions in many different ways.
One way is to support and stimulate innovation, to enable an environment that can facilitate the creation of new exciting opportunities for the industries of the future – a second industrial revolution if you will — for when the coal that powered the first industrial revolution and has been generating unprecedented prosperity (and unprecedented damage to the planet) comes to an end.
That’s where I and my company +ANDERSEN & ASSOCIATES come in; I was there to give a teaser overview of some of the methodologies anyone can use (startups as well as established industry) to create disruptive innovation at 50 (!) times faster (and with less resources) than previous methods – to inspire and also to showcase what is indeed possible today; what is actually actionable and teachable.
Special thanks to WFMG – Wirtschaftsförderung Mönchengladbach, Zenit GmbH, and Zweckverband LANDFOLGE Garzweiler for inviting me and to all of the very enthusiastic and motivated participants that came to my fully-booked workshops.
Looking forward to be of further service to the region going forwards!
(And yes, that is an actual original Junkers Ju 52 airplane inside the event location – Hugo Junkers was born in Rheydt in today’s Mönchengladbach.)
Google Stadia wasn’t a perfect cloud gaming experience (missing a lot of game titles, multiplayer often impossible to find other players, etc) by any account, but it was more than good enough to enjoy casual gaming without having to buy and manage the PC hardware and software.
Stadia is however the best effort to make casual AAA-title gaming without a PC or console an enjoyable and frictionless experience to date.
But only two years old, Google has already decided to kill it January 2023.
I guess this is what happens when previously disruptive startups become public corporations: Out the window goes the long-game and everything shifts to short term gains. No vision, no leadership, no will of taking risks beyond the scope of fulfilling career-based KPIs.
As a friendly free word of advice; If you’re intending to disrupt an existing market, don’t apply a two year horizon for it to be even remotely successful. (Or if you only have two years, make sure it has enough funding and priority to actually be able to achieve rapid Horizon 3 scaling.)
The sad-funny part is that even Microsoft is more innovative than Google at this point.
Cloud gaming is obviously the future (lower barrier to consume, hardware homogeneity and stability for game developers, no-cost upgrade cycles for consumers, lower environmental impact for everybody, near-zero cost distribution, etc.). I mean, considering the computing power needed for the Metaverse(s) / AR-Verse(s), it is inevitable — you’re not going to render that locally on your iPhone or on your Quest headset any day soon now.
Now, Stadia isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last to drop out of the cloud gaming race.
NVIDIA (GeForce Now) already copped out by castrating themselves by publisher demands (games you previously bought suddenly disappearing because the publishers’ knee-jerk reactions). IMO, if NVIDIA was serious about cloud gaming, they would have litigated publishers to a settle that would set precedence and benefited consumers — but I deem from their no-contest fold that they are not really in the cloud gaming race at all.
Like Apple’s AppStore, I don’t think you’ll win cloud gaming without winning the devs. And by that, I don’t mean the existing publishers. (No, by all means screw those gatekeepers over for good — They represent most things bad with gaming today.) You cannot and will not win them over as they have every incentive in the world to fight for their status quo. You need the games. The games with mainstream appeal. Games that will bring the gamers. The games with epic experiences. Games like those coming out of the studios of Naughty Dog, Crystal Dynamics, or Rockstar.
You also need the multiplayer games to be multiplayer-playable — which cannot be said about a lot of games played in the cloud (not cross-platform compatible, no critical user mass of cloud-only version yet), which renders them unplayable (e.g. Red Dead Redemption 2 Online is completely unplayable on Stadia as there are no other players being matched to your game).
I’m not getting my hopes up for Amazon Luna (everything Amazon touches turns out mediocre at best) and it’s not even available in Europe (yet?).
I think Steam would be in a good position as they are already in the sales and distribution game, have a large customer base — but it feels like Valve got lost after the Half Life 2 release party and is still trying to find their way home.
Sony bought Gaikai in 2012 (I tried it sometime 2011 and I was very impressed by how I was able to play Crysis 2 on my non-gaming MacMini 2009 with it. It was one of those very rare “DANG! This-is-the-future-right-here” moments.) and has since pretty much squandered the potential as they are too entrenched (witch is a nicer way of saying Sony management have a track record of having their heads too far up their behinds) in their existing Nespresso lock-in business model. I’m not expecting miracles.
Which surprisingly makes me believe Microsoft with its XBOX Live (no Mac app yet — to no one’s surprise) is currently in the best position. It’s a distributor and publisher with its own game dev studios — and it seems (for now) that they are playing for the long game. I’m not sure if they will be willing or able to thoroughly disrupt their hardware / software lock-in model any day soon (hey, throw us a Mac app bone), though. Probably a positioning play for now that affords future optionality.
I’m not getting my hopes up for Ubi/EA/EPIC/etc siloed cloud subscription services. A siloed market represents added inconvenience and added costs (subsidise the publisher for what you don’t want, pay for several silos to get what you want) for the consumers. Besides, some of them got cultural baggage and some have a problematic developer / publisher paradox.
And what about those rent-a-windows-box-in-the-cloud services? Have you ever tried one of these? Don’t get me started. It’s still all of the hassles of actually owning and managing a Windows gaming PC — but with higher latency and frame drops. The pain. The horror.
Personally, I would like to see Apple get over their Pippin complex and just get on with it and own the market. It’s the only media type that is missing from their offerings, IMO. But I’m not getting my hopes up. Knowing Apple, they will probably join the fray if and when the time is right — which is to say probably not any day real soon now. (Come on Apple, you need another “hobby”! Maybe hot on the heels of the Apple AR Glasses?)
OTOH — As another corporate venture gets it chain yanked, it’s leaving the opportunity on the table for the startup with the grander vision and deeper (accessible) pockets and more freedom to operate.
What do you think?
(This article was originally published on LinkedIn 2020.09.30)
Wow! I’m honoured to be named one of the “Vordenker 2022″ by the initiative “Vordenker 2022 – Deutschlands klügste Köpfe” (in English, that translates to something akin to “Masterminds 2022 – Germany’s Wisest Minds”) by Germany’s largest business magazine “DUP UNTERNEHMER-Magazin” (a Handelsblatt Group joint venture) and “DIND – Deutsches Innovationsinstitut für Nachhaltigkeit und Digitalisierung”.
+ANDERSEN & ASSOCIATES helps companies with digital transformation and helps establish innovative thinking as a part of the company DNA. The founder Vidar Andersen explains why he doesn’t rely on investors, why he and the associates are all paranoid tech people, and how to permanently stay innovative in the market.
DUP UNTERNEHMER-Magazin: +ANDERSEN & ASSOCIATES helps companies with digital transformation. That probably means you hit a nerve in the market during the pandemic?
Vidar Andersen: Not really – at least at the beginning of the corona pandemic. We ourselves were able to offer all of our services and products online within a few weeks. But there was hardly any demand from our customers. Many companies, especially in Germany, could not even imagine receiving the same services via virtual channels online. Still others were prevented from doing so by internal hurdles, such as a lack of software licenses, restrictive security settings, data protection considerations or pending works council decisions. But today, many of our customers no longer want to do without the virtual online solutions. So – luckily – a lot has happened here in the past two years.
How do you convince your customers of your service?
Andersen: When we realized at the beginning of the pandemic that very few customers were well positioned digitally, a lot of time and energy went into education and training. We showed them how to work well together digitally. This effort paid off. Whether it is our programs or services, many are still primarily preferred virtually. This is an enormous advantage, especially for companies that are running programs or projects that last several weeks and whose teams are spread across different locations. In principle, every new customer relationship is preceded by intensive research in order to understand the market conditions and requirements of the respective industry and company to be able to offer suitable programs or solutions – analogue and digital.
How do your customers react to these disruptive change proposals?
Andersen: First of all, our work can only be fruitful if we know exactly what our customers’ goals and needs are. In general, however, they appreciate the uncomplicated and team-oriented cooperation with us and that we give honest feedback. If I’m not convinced of something, I’ll say so, even if the customers might not want to hear it at first. In addition, it is very important to talk to each other and to question yourself and your performance again and again. We conduct feedback discussions with our customers before, during and after a program or project has been completed. We continuously evaluate whether our products, programs and services need to be updated, supplemented or replaced.
How do you ensure that +Andersen & Associates itself is not overtaken by the digital advances in the world?
Andersen: We are all “paranoid” tech enthusiasts. And we are concerned that one day we will no longer be up to date and that we will no longer be able to understand and master future technologies. This paranoia is also reflected in the work culture: For example, there is always a running concern that the competitors could offer something better or that the methodologies and tools that we are successfully using today could suddenly become obsolete in the future. Our recipe against this is that we remain paranoid (and we only work with entrepreneurs and founders who share our paranoia). Research on the topics of tech, tools, methodologies and competition is very much a part of our day-to-day business in order to remain competitive. This applies to +Andersen as well as to our customers.
What advantage do you have over your competitors?
Andersen: As a small private company with no external investors, we enjoy the privilege of defining our growth goals ourselves. We also have the patience to reach them. The most important thing for us has always been to have satisfied customers – that is our very simple recipe for success. Classic growth measures such as more staff or the takeover of other companies are of secondary importance. In addition, we are extremely flexible and scalable in terms of skills and human resources. Our associates model enables our customers to put together a perfect à la carte team from a wide variety of fields for a wide variety of digitization and innovation challenges.
In which business area do you still have weaknesses?
Andersen: Working more with external partners per program or project and less with permanent employees may be seen as a possible weakness, especially by potential investors or potential acquirers. But to me, the pandemic has proven that this business model is very anti-fragile.
“At our fifth Lean Innovation Educators Summit, we discussed the role of the university and other important organizations in supporting the critical mission of preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Attendees gleaned insights from keynote speaker Rich Lyons, the Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer of the University of California at Berkeley, about the opportunities and challenges faced by the Lean Innovation Educators community.”