business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Wall Street Journal over the weekend had an interview with former GE CEO Jack Welch and his wife, journalist Suzy Welch, who are coming out with a new book, “The Real-Life M.B.A."

In the book, the story says, "the Welches offer their view of how the Internet has changed leadership...

“Now everybody knows everything,” says Mr. Welch. “So you’re not going into a situation where the boss has three more facts - everybody has the same facts.”

And, Mrs. Welch adds, traditional competitive boundaries no longer apply - everybody competes with everybody: “You used to be competing in your own industry, but now it’s so amorphous. You could be in the TV business, but now games also compete with you.”

At the same time, this morning's has an interview Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp about how digital competition is transforming the magazine business - enough so that he no longer refers to Time as a magazine company.

"We’ve got a legacy business that is shrinking and it’s going to continue to shrink," he tells the Journal. "Go to any airport right now. There are fewer magazines being displayed. People are engaged with their iPhones; they aren’t reading magazines the way they used to. And when they are on the plane now they have Wi-Fi on board, so they’re doing their emails.

"They aren’t reading less of our content, however. If they are interested in celebrities they are still getting celebrity news; if they are interested in cooking they are still getting cooking information. They are just consuming it in different places. So we’ve been looking at all of our properties, at our websites, our mobile platforms, and saying, how can we help our audiences engage with us in the way they want? Digital video is a key component, and you’re seeing a lot more from us."

I think these two Journal stories made an important point about the nature of competition ... and it applies to pretty much everyone in every business. There is no such thing as traditional boundaries, and no such thing as traditional competition.

It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: