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2005: Year of the Balance of Power

Posted on Sunday, Nov 27th 2005

We have been watching the 3-Disc TV Series, Napoleon, recently. There is a scene when Napoleon challenges his friend, the Czar Alexander of Russia, on why Austria is being allowed to arm itself and build a competing power. Alexander says, like Napoleon’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Monsieur Talleyrand, he too believes that there needs to be a balance of power in Europe.

Not surprisingly, this makes Napoleon fly off in a rage!

This year has been a year that has underscored several such balance of power developments.

In Politics and in Economics, the US dominance has been partially normalized by China and India, both emerging superpowers.

Close to home, in high tech, Google’s absurd rise has stopped Microsoft in its track, posing an alternate power block that challenges many existing assumptions.

In Silicon Valley, Google and Yahoo have even started challenging the power that Venture Capitalists have commanded thus far against entrepreneurs, and by encouraging entrepreneurs to bootstrap their startups, followed by exiting into one of the two (or into one of their competitors).

In this strange rebalance, Microsoft accuses Google of being arrogant, as do the VCs. Amusing, this turn of tides …

And one last balance of power example : the dominance of mainstream media has been shredded by the emerging democratic new media publishing trends and their supporting infrastructure that has rapidly matured this year (Blogs, Podcasts, Video-on-Demand, Microcontent, Micropayment, acceptable DRM standards, viable ad-supported business models, etc.).

As 2005 draws to a close, and we enter the holiday season, this is my Thanksgiving message: Let competition and innovation continue their march. Let David’s defeat Goliath’s, then become Goliath’s, only to be defeated by new David’s. Let Capitalism continue to provide the framework supporting this cycle.

Let us keep building.

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