— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) August 4, 2015
I don’t exactly know what Benedict Evans meant by his one word comment on this chart, but I found the data interesting because of the frankly incredible ongoing performance of Microsoft, rather that the potentially more sigmoid looking curve of Apple (a model of saturation in a population, an s-curve which will dramatically plateau).
Plenty of smart people talk about Steve Ballmer’s time as CEO at Microsoft as a failure but I really wish I could fail like that. I watch enterprise software, and Microsoft has been turning in organic double digit growth in multiple billion dollar plus businesses year after year for over 10 years now. That’s impressive execution. Microsoft servers and tools business is perhaps a triceratops – a dinosaur with more horns than a unicorn. Has Microsoft succeeded at everything? No – but show me the company that has. Execution is really hard – thus the idea of “unicorns”.
Microsoft catching IBM in revenues is what really strikes me, and is perhaps what Benedict was referring to. Outsourcing is not a good place to be right now.
Our current fetish for outsize valuations is certainly interesting – the companies we call unicorns are valued at over a billion dollars, but the term says nothing whatsoever about revenues. These valuations are based purely on private, somewhat illiquid markets (to be fair a lot of smart people think Mark Cuban is wrong about the bubble).
When I think of dinosaurs I think of incredibly successful life forms, that thrived over hundreds of millions of years. It is mankind that looks more like a blip. Maybe that’s what Benedict meant? A dinosaur offers sustained performance over time. I suspect of course, that’s not what he meant.
I leave the last word to Marc Benioff.
All my friends want to be Unicorns. Many are just not ready. Get ready for some dead Unicorns. pic.twitter.com/MOlOHSq9uO
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) July 28, 2015
Some disclosure: Dell, IBM, Microsoft are clients and I am certainly not a stock picker.