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The Beauty Industry and Missed Opportunities: Lessons from the IT Sector and The Writing on the Wall. In business, we’ve all played with the”if I only knew then what I know now…” game. And yes, most – if not all – of us would lunge at the opportunity to jump right into a time machine and appear in the fabled right location at the ideal moment: say, just before a crazy stock market surge, or as valuably, right before an impending crash.However, of all of the”if I only knew then what I know now” ponderings, the ones that are the most painful – the ones which keep us up at night, not exactly what might happen to be, but what should have been are the chances that we let slip right through our own fingers.Those are the opportunities that bite the longest and reduce the deepest, because in hindsight we see, with tragic clarity, they were really made for us. Those chances came knocking at our door, and we all really had to do was turn the doorknob, allow them in, and reap the life-changing rewards.But for a number of motives – call it destiny, bad fortune, or anything else – we missed it. Therefore the knocking ceased, the door remained closed, and the opportunity went elsewhere.Top Missed Opportunities (and Blunders) at Tech HistoryIf reflecting on missed chances has you feeling quite bad, then take heart: you did not make PC Earth’s harshly (but accurately!) Entitled”The Top 10 Stupidest Tech Company Blunders” listing. Indeed, while you might sometimes lie awake in bed at night wondering”what could happen to be,” the people on this list are likely knee-deep in therapists by this point. Behold:• In 2006, Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel reacted to some awful business financial news by pulling back a virtually sealed $1 billion dollar deal for Facebook. The offer was decreased to $600 million, which was too low for Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. • In 2000an engineer, Tony Fadell pitched a music player which was an innovation from the current mix of MP3 players. He had been shown the door by Real Networks and Philips, but he did catch the attention of a guy named Steve Jobs. Jump ahead a decade as well as Fadell’s vision – that became the iPod – commands 80% of the digital music market and has transformed the way in which the music industry generates and delivers its product. Sony had a thing named Blu-ray. Toshiba had a thing known as HD DVD. Had they worked together, they’d have saved hundreds of millions of dollars and profited hundreds of millions more. Talk about a missed opportunity!• Folks of a particular age will easily remember the times when MS-DOS ruled the computer operating system planet (can I get a dir, please?) . But most folks do not understand that before IBM chose Microsoft, it tried to strike a deal with a man named Gary Kildall of Digital Research. As it turns out, the day that IBM ceased by Gary’s place to invent a bargain, he was out delivering a product to a client – leaving his wife to take care of the negotiations. Mrs. Kildall did not like any of the things IBM was suggesting, and sent on their own way. • In 1973, Xerox built something very interesting and called it the Alto. At the time, nobody really knew what the Alto was, because nothing like it had ever existed. All they knew was that it had a windows-based GUI, ethernet networking, along with a WYSIWYG text processor. But who in their right minds would want that? There was no computer market in 1973, and thus that the Alto was put on the back burner. However, this wasn’t before that iPod man Steve Jobs played around with a single, went”aha!” From the time Xerox awakened to this, it was too late and they never did catch up.• In 1999, countless people basked in front of the warm glow of the monitors and loaded up on digitial music courtesy of Napster. However, not everyone was thrilled – like the music industry itself, which went into DefCon 3 style and attacked Napster and thousands of the”pirates” that were using it to”rip’em off”. That’s when Napster CEO Hank Barry offered this radical solution: permit the music and pay royalties to the artists, just like a radio station. To put things mildly, his proposal was not heeded. Nor was it heeded by the music business when a similar solution has been proposed by MP3.com, or some of the other websites where music loving”pirates” were congregating. Of course, we understand how this story ends: now, Barry’s licensing model is worth billions of dollars a year – and growing. The electronic music sector might have avoided years of missed sales, legal costs, and the ire of music lovers (notably the 30,000 or so that it sued) when it’d simply seen the writing on the wall and READ it.• Back in the 90’s, the Internet Service Provider landscape was dominated by Compuserve. It had everything that a CEO, investor or investor dreams of: enormous market share, established customer base, huge resources, small competition, and technical benefits (particularly around data) that served in some ways such as a pure monopoly. So what happened? Attempting to fortify its leadership position, re-invest in advanced technologies and solutions, Compuserve in essence held the door open for AOL to come in and in a few years – kicked Compuserve from the market entirely.• For many years, Craigslist was seen but not heard by the paper industry. Who might imagine anyone turning away from (the very lucrative) newspaper classifieds and placing their truth in some bizarre ads on some bizarre website named after some (presumably weird) guy. Instead of understanding Craig Newmark’s business design and exploiting it, the newspaper industry went on whistling, while Craigslist and buddies – eBay, Google, etc – retained growing exponentially. And today, there’s a fantastic chance that the only place future generations will see a newspaper, or at the classified section of a newspaper, will probably be in a museum.• We dwell in the Google Age, however we might be living in the Open Text age – which is, if the folks at Yahoo! and its new partner Open Text had, in 1997, chose to not abandon their plans to make a search engine that may quickly and accurately scan documents on the net and bring back search results. Their supervision was Google’s invitation, because in 1998, Google launched its search engine and, well, the rest is history (and, undoubtedly, the stuff of nightmares for the folks at Yahoo! and Open Text that missed out on tens of thousands of thousands of dollars in profits).• In the turn of this century, Apple and its adviser Steve Jobs (yes, him again) were facing a very scary problem: they didn’t have money, their inventory was close to worthless, and it did not even possess a CEO in the moment. So why did not Apple fade into oblivion? Evidently, Microsoft never realized this strategic miscalculation could cost the company billions of dollars in lost profits and market share in PCs, digital devices and applications. But it did, and that’s why Bill is on the list.While all of the shockingly big missed opportunities (and blunders) have various details and paint different pictures, it’s enlightening to check past the surface to the frequent denominator – because in doing so, it becomes evident that there are some key, common ingredients to every missed business opportunity. These include:1. Misjudging the marketplace. Every one of these sad tales wraps itself around a core error, which is the market was woefully misjudged. Either markets that really did exist were presumed to be nothing (or, at best, not worthy of thought ), or even basic principles of what consumers wanted was ignored in favour of what companies wanted and guessed were in their best interest, as opposed to the customers’.2. Not seeing the warning signs. While hindsight is 20/20, it’s fair to conclude that the writing was on the walls for all these folks – and for a number of these, it’d been there for years if they would simply listen. But rather than studying the signs, accepting reality and making alterations, they either pretended that everything was fine, or did an ostrich dip and insulated themselves contrary to what was actually going on. The irony here, of course, is that the men and women who were charged with viewing reality – that the leaders – were those that had been dead-set on seeing anything but what was really occurring. In the end, their collapse was much larger than them – it crushed entire companies to the floor.3. Not partnering with the ideal solutions provider. All of these businesses may be faulted for failing to look outside of their organization. If they had, they would have undoubtedly connected with the right services provider and obtained valuable access to knowledge, goods, services, channels and systems – some or all of that could have saved them from economic disaster and a spot on this list. To put it differently, they couldn’t address the problem on their own (presuming they saw it in the first place) and failed to work with partners to resolve it smartly and efficiently.The Writing is on the Wall for the Beauty IndustryWe have seen how the 3 core mistakes identified previously – misjudging the marketplace; not seeing the warning signals; not cooperating with the ideal solutions provider – have led to countless billions in losses for IT leaders who’d do anything to return in time and undo the harm (and be the laughing stock of future generations). And chillingly, we can also see how these blunders are making their way into the Beauty Industry – especially, in the way the Beauty Industry deals with men.Frankly, the Beauty Industry, for all its combined intelligence and experience, is woefully neglecting men in its product development, its promotion, its advertising and especially its retailing. Why? Well, if you ask the Beauty Industry, you won’t get an answer – because most industry insiders do not think there is an issue! The few who dotheir dreams are so myopic they can not see their way to a clear solution. In fact, the conventional Beauty Industry would have you believe that men in general, are well on their way to be’feminized’.It’d be unfair to say the Beauty Industry made no effort prior to creating products and advertising campaigns which”appeal to guys”. But the little that they did, is so far off the path that pulling back the train would be like getting it to stop on a dime. That is no surprise because purposeful shift in the ground up takes cash – plenty of it. Yet because manly guys do not wield nearly enough purchasing power to capture the Beauty Industry’s attention, the Beauty Industry figures which you aren’t important enough for them to invest in a complete and expensive overhaul of the current practices toward the promotion of men’s skin care and men’s anti-aging products.Anyway, the modern Beauty Industry as a whole, such as some of the counterparts in the IT segment that created the List, are still so confined by customs and influences of their feminine roots which have described the Beauty Industry for almost 200 decades, one doubts that they would see the solution if it were right before their eyes.