GUEST POST from Geoffrey A. Moore
When layoffs hit one or two companies, you might blame it on management, but when they hit market leader after market leader, you know something structural is afoot. The important thing then is to extract the signal from all the noise. Here is my cut at it.
First of all, it is the digital consumer sector that is under fire—not all of tech. But note that when you click on the Tech Section of any major publication, all you get is consumer tech news. B2C has eclipsed B2B in the public perception of what tech is all about. The downturn may not change this for consumers, but it sure will for investors. B2B tech actually has the opportunity to thrive in a downturn if it focuses on solving urgent problems that have short time to payback.
Second, the digital consumer model has such attractive economics when it is operating at scale that it led to a massive overvaluation of the sector per se. As with prior bubbles in tech, overvaluing is primarily due to extrapolating present growth as perpetual and ignoring global economic and geopolitical downside risks. Downturns simply call this out and demand a recalibration of valuation based on a more balanced mix of positive and negative factors.
Third, when enterprises have hyper-valued market caps, management does everything it can to sustain them, eventually to the point of counterproductive actions driven more by inertia than any sensible investment strategy. Given the peer pressures of investor relations, this is almost impossible to stop, so ultimately we end up where we are, in need of a correction that everyone saw coming, but no one acted upon. And to be fair, guessing when the correction will come is not a winning play. Better to accept the dynamics you have in front of you and then adapt as fast as you can once they change.
Net net, it is time to own the correction, put our houses in order, accept the deflation in stock price, refocus on our core mission, reset our performance metrics, and get back out on the field.
That’s what I think. What do you think?
Image Credit: Pixabay
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