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Why Tech Firms Need a Plan B


Eye of the Needle by David Needle (bio)

Insights from Silicon Valley and beyond


Imagine you’re a tech startup with a great new Web service or product idea. You get enough funding to build out the staff and start developing the product in earnest. A year later, you realize the market’s changed; another company already offers 90 percent of the functionality of your SuperWebWonderWidget along with a bunch of features you don’t have.

It’s time to go to Plan B, but guess what? B doesn’t need to mean ‘Beaten’, rather it can be Beautiful. That’s according to Randy Komisar, co-author with John Mullins of the new book “Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model.”

Komisar spoke earlier this week at a Churchill Club event “in conversation” with New York Times reporter John Markoff. As a venture capitalist, virtual CEO and executive of a number of Silicon Valley tech companies (WebTV, TiVo, GlobalGiving, senior counsel at Apple), Komisar has seen his share of firms that had to change business plans quickly.

For example, he recalls when he was a director at Tivo in the company’s early days when its focus was on home networking and licensing its technology to companies like Sony and Philips. “That was in the late 1990s when they hadn’t figured out entertainment was the opportunity,” he recalls.

[Continue reading this blog post at Eye of the Needle by David Needle]