Failure to embrace change leads to market cannibalisation.
The 90’s was just the beginning
For years the tech companies remained as technology focused enablers for the business world. Focusing on building supercomputers to punching cards by solving business problems. But as time passed the tech industry morphed in doing what it was already good at and also transisitioned into the personal tech revolution. Apple in 1984 introduced the first truly personal computer and then the revolution contnued with the introduction of Windows 95, iPod, Smartphones and so on.
The 90’s marked the transition into the personal space but it wasn’t enough. The industry pursued even more aggressively into the next phase of personal tech. It became so personal that privacy become a concern, I discuss my thoughts on privacy extensively in my previous post “Why I switched to DuckDuckGo and ran back to Google running”, you can read more here.
Design takes centerstage
As time flew, services were created around great personal information we openly shared. But these were all softwares, web based and digitally contained. It was difficult to transition these great services into tangible products that could be held, felt and to interact with. Motorola with the introduction of RAZR did try to address this void but it was created in an era of no services and ended up becoming a one hit wonder.
Introducting Jony Ive of Apple. He believed that it made a lot of sense to introduce design centric products. Products that did not separate the hardware and software experiences but melded it together to create a “one-ness” when users interacted with Apple’s products and services. Everyone took notice.
Jony’s revolution inspired other personal tech giants to incorporate their design centric philosophy to their products and services. Some did extremely well and some failed poorly. This approach left to these tech giants to define what personal devices had to look like from phones, laptop computers, thermostats to even your own watch.
To me there is an inherent flaw to this approach. If tech industry defines what design and fashion looks like, we are going to only get and see designs that accommodate their tech.
The fashion industry may have been taking a beating to stay relevant. But for years they have been trying hard to enter the tech space but failed because they tried to create their products by themselves and in vacuum. Take Will.i.am for example, he has been churning out products what he thinks is fashionable and technologically advanced but all were huge failures as it was not created with good partners. Brands like Vertu tried and only a few get to use them because of their high price tag and small shelf life.
A new partnership is necessary
For anyone, its incredibly tough to survive the tech industry. New startups, products and services are created every minute. Fashion has eras, seasons and periods. Meaningful partnerships are the only way out. Look at Beats, they initially partnered with Monster to create their headphones and they did redefine the music industry.
The good news is, Fossil announced this week that their partnership with Intel to create smartwatches and accessories. Fossil has been making leather goods and fashion accessories for years and their recent move to smartwatches may be a reaction to the reception that Apple Watch has been getting. Its a smart move partnering with Intel and Google to create a robust product. Intel has been wowing audiences for many years on the internet of things and Google has been the perfect enabler for any business to enter the tech race. This means trouble for Apple, Motorola, LG and Samsung if this partnership goes well.
I believe this is the only way forward for the fashion industry. If the fashion doesn’t take the lead in defining personal tech industry, other industries will define it for them and that’s a fact. Look at what Samsung and Apple has been throwing at us for years. The same old and predictable.
With Fossil’s entrance the revolution has begun.