The undisputed King of smartphones is the Apple iPhone which controls 57% market share as of March 2023. What makes Apple’s accomplishment even more impressive is that the company Apple dethroned, Research In Motion or RIM, maker of the BlackBerry, owned over 50% of the U.S. and 20% of the global smartphone market, selling over 50 million devices a year, and boasted a valuation of $80B.
From January 2010 to January 2013, RIM’s market share dropped from over 50% to 5.9%. The story of how RIM lost its way is explained in the book, ‘Losing The Signal’ by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff. I encourage those of you who haven’t read the book to do so. This article contains an excerpt from the book. There is also a forthcoming movie about Blackberry.
In my opinion, the reason why BlackBerry failed is because of Steve Jobs’s take-no-prisoners approach to business, and Steve’s ability to create the perception that the executives running RIM didn’t understand technology nor did they understand what consumers wanted.
Steve understood that in order to win the smartphone race, he needed to do more than demonstrate that the iPhone was revolutionary. Steve also needed to prove that BlackBerry (and other competitors) were virtually selling the exact same phone with only cosmetic differences such as screen size. Watch this video as it is a master class on how to destroy competitors merely by using their own products against them.
I believe we are now witnessing something very similar to what Apple did to BlackBerry. What am I referring to? OpenAI and ChatGPT. However, OpenAI isn’t impacting a specific company, it is impacting entire industries. This has unleashed a new breed of entrepreneur who understands that they aren’t Steve Jobs, but they certainly can leverage AI chatbots to uncover hidden consumer trends and business opportunities, and ask the chatbot to pretend their Steve Jobs (or a different executive) to create strategies and product ideas.
I want to make sure everyone understands where I’m going with this. Elon Musk didn’t invent electric vehicles, Elon Musk invented a new type of electric vehicle. Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz AG, BMW Group, and so on, watched from the sidelines as Musk created the most valuable car company in the world even though Musk had no prior automotive experience.
Tesla’s competitors can’t clone Elon Musk. However, using conversational AI chatbots like ChatGPT, every automotive company can instruct their chatbots to pretend they’re Elon Musk, and present new design ideas and strategies. Stated another way, instead of working against Musk, competitors can ask Musk to work on their behalf.
The story of the rise and fall of BlackBerry is about to be duplicated many times across industries because of AI. The hidden message in the story of how Apple beat BlackBerry is that Apple won because of Steve Jobs, and that Apple had a better strategy and team. Stated another way, had Jobs worked for RIM, it’s conceivable that RIM would be today’s Apple.
AI is going to minimize and virtually eliminate the era of the power CEO – the CEO who is so good at what they do that it creates an insurmountable competitive advantage.
This is why I believe Chief AI Officer will become the new CEO role. A Chief AI Officer will be an individual with an expertise in leveraging AI to play an integral role in business planning, strategy, and corporate What If? scenario discussions.
Using ChatGPT isn’t enough to fully duplicate the incredible abilities of Stave Jobs. However, as the technology improves, I certainly believe that we will witness a change in how ideas are generated and companies started as they’ll be able to pull wisdom from some of the greatest minds ever to live.
What’s even more exciting is the idea of companies asking a Chatbot to pretend their the CEO of a rival company. In fact, I’ve been experimenting with asking ChatGPT to pretend that it is Walmart, and I use the names of Walmart’s actual executives. I also ask ChatGPT to pretend it is Amazon, and I use the name of Andy Jassy and other Amazon executives.
I clearly state that I want it to write a business plan and strategy, and that the winning business plan will be based on the ability of ChatGPT to assess the known opinions and capabilities of each executive that I provide, and using the power of ChatGPT, write out exactly what each executive will recommend and how the individual opinions can coalesce around a single business plan and strategy.
It’s arguably the most fascinating thing I’ve ever done and without wanting to sound too brash, I think it’s one of the most innovative ways of using ChatGPT.
I’m an amateur at this.