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May 9, 2018

The Ecosystem Multiverse: You live in many worlds

Wilfried Rijsemus

Say what?

Haha, those that have been working with me, know that I ventilate uninhibited thoughts here. Not something you should always do with your immediate business peers, but here, this is OK I guess. In my current engagements, I have the good fortune to talk to really bright people and they inspire me to translate them into foundational ideas that drive my work.

In my previous posts, I already mentioned the simple logic of the investor world. An investor has a simple choice that is similar to a choice that you would make. Do I invest my money in a company with 5% yield or with 10% yield? The answer is simple. This leads to a "global arms race" of companies that need to deliver the promised investor yield. That can either be via the stock exchange or private equity. All the time companies are growing or declining and the whole system can be best visualized by soap bubbles. One grows at the expense of the other and it is really dynamic. The companies that grow have a few ways to that: Grow organically (without help, which is usually slow and not worth the wait too many investors), Acquire companies (comes with a huge integration challenge) or develop an Ecosystem or do all 3 (;-))


In Mickey Mouse terms: An ecosystem comprises of a core platform (which is your property) + high-value capabilities delivered by partners (or you) and consumed by your customers that you were able to attract.

We all know the ecosystems like Facebook, Google, Android, Apple. Now, we see more and more companies realizing that a good way to satisfy the investor (and stay in business) is to

Attract an audience (your community), Deliver your core value (free or priced or both) and ORGANIZE to deliver additional high value thru your platform by any partner or yourself make sure your community trusts you and stays with you

Interestingly, attracting an audience and engage with them is now part of your core company strategies. So, if you are already sitting on an audience, you have a head start over those that need to develop that.


The multiverse is, of course, the brainchild of the recently deceased, great, Stephen Hawking and probably a few other people like Kip Thorne. It assumes that next to our universe that we know, there are infinite other universes that can best be visualized again with soap bubbles.

Let's suppose that your Ecosystem is your Universe. Next to you, there is another Universe. People may subscribe to your Universe and that of your neighbour because of one reason: There is something there that satisfies their need and not only that. They will 'invest' their time, money and effort in you EXACTLY the same way as the investor is looking at you. Maximizing value! If you fail to maximize value, your bubble will shrink and may even disappear.

Like it or not, the Ecosystem is here to stay as it is the quickest way to maximize value. There is however a limit to how many Ecosystems a person or company is willing to subscribe to. Just think of your own backyard. If you find value in Facebook, you will probably not join Instagram. If Apple is your thing, you won't need Android. We already live in consumer ecosystems. Gradually business will make those choices and select the best Ecosystems to get the highest value. Now it is up to you to develop your own Ecosystem and maybe partner in others or just partner. Not considering it is a really bad idea.

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