Ross Mason Make it Stupid Simple


Imagine a tiny, wireless button that attaches to any surface and can trigger up to three separate functions on the smartphone in your pocket. One click of the button could call a cab, two clicks could turn off your lights and by holding the button down you could be walking out your front door with music beginning to play in your ear.

The startup Flic has made this scenario a reality. Flic is creating value in the physical Internet-of-Things world, where we as consumers demand greater connectivity within our surroundings and more user-centric experiences. Essentially, we’re demanding that complex workflows be made stupid simple. Startups that can achieve this will be front runners in their industry.

Below I’ve predicted three startup trends that will result in 2015 from this growing consumer demand of transforming the complex into the ordinary:

Tech giants will buy anything that gets them deeper into a market. The tech market is currently a land grab for who can own what. “Sexiness” will be a key factor; anything that has traction and is sexy will be bought. This year will see many more acquisitions, especially from Google as it further advances its scope into in-car navigation (Waze acquisition), home automation ), artificial intelligence (DeepMind Technologies acquisition), drones (Titan Aerospace acquisition) and much more. The common theme among Google’s acquisitions is the ability to make things simpler in order to reach further into our lives. By acquiring all these young businesses, Google is trying to make it as simple as possible for its consumers to do practically anything. What’s more, these startup-hungry giants won’t just be searching for the right technology to acquire, but also the right teams. They’re searching for big ideas or unique approaches to solving problems that just might change an industry and simultaneously position them as the leader in a new market. An example of this is Google’s acquisition of Revolv, whose product was immediately shut down to new customers.

Startups will revolutionize archaic industries with simple workflows. The banking industry, for instance, is a big target of the digital revolution. Companies such as Stripe, PayPal and Square have transformed digital payments and accelerated themselves into a ripe position for a major acquisition or to remain top dogs in their field as standalone companies. In fact, Stripe recently knocked out Amazon as the payments processor for the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Stripe’s clean, simple and well-implemented architecture makes it a desirable partner, especially in a slow-transforming industry such as the banking sector.

In order to survive, companies will open up their digital channels. More and more, businesses large and small are recognizing the important opportunities being created by establishing an open approach to data. The common way to accomplish this is through APIs, which allow for the fluid exchange of information between internal systems and those belonging to third parties. For instance, Expedia has an API that allows people using third-party websites, such as Kayak, to tap its functionality in order to book flights, cars, hotels and more. Nearly half of Expedia’s $4 billion revenue is achieved by delivering its services to partners through affiliate APIs. Adopting an open approach to sharing data through digital channels will be a driving force for companies of all size this year.

Simplicity is trending among startups due to popular demand. This year, we’ll see consumers demand a higher level of connectivity to their surroundings. We’ll see startups jump on every opportunity to cater to these demands, especially in archaic industries. We’ll see tech giants continue to acquire these young businesses to stay relevant, and we’ll see businesses of all sizes make a significantly larger effort to connect, share and collaborate with open approaches to their data. Pay attention because with one “flic” of a button, we just might see the impossible made possible as the digital and physical worlds connect in more robust but simple ways.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


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Ross Mason Make it Stupid Simple