…And So It Sank!


Carroll Bryant said “The moment you stop trying to become a better person, is the moment you start to become worse than what you already are.” That is why you need to pick out some lessons from this piece by making sure you  read through to the END. I don’t care about who you are or what you might have been told before now all I know is that your business will see the light of the day following this priceless business lesson from Yahoo and Nokia.

We all know Yahoo and Nokia are BIG boys in the Tech. industries. In fact, Yahoo was the first official email provider when the internet first started. Even till now I have a Yahoo account that I don’t even remember my log in details – because I rarely use them. In our country Nigeria even our old illiterate elders will still shout  “Yahoo Yahoo”.

Nokia? This brand was so popular that a Nigeria artist form a chorus round the Name: “I am 3310…., I am 3310…., Ojabo kofo o o o, I am 3310…” that chorus was a BOMB then. Yes, at that time Nokia 3310 was the strongest phone then with long lasting battery. In fact, you can marry a lady then with Nokia 3310 – no joke here (ask the elder around you). But where are these brands today? Yes, they are still in business but definitely not in their place.

Similarly Nokia CEO cries during his last Speech! During the press conference to announce NOKIA being acquired by Microsoft, Nokia CEO ended his speech saying this “we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”. Even at that, all his management team, himself included, teared sadly.

Nokia has been a respectable company. They didn’t do anything wrong in their business, however, the world changed too fast. Their opponents were too innovative and flexible with strong competitive edge.

They missed out on learning, they missed out on changing, and thus they lost the opportunity at hand to make it BIG. Not only did they miss the opportunity to earn big money, they lost their chance of survival. The message of this story is, if you don’t change, you might soon loose out of the GAME. That is why your business model must be flexible to accommodate business change.

The below are more lessons you can also learn from them.

Customer Focus

Yahoo started off as a search engine but quickly lost focus of its core service and wanted to be everything to everyone on the internet. The home page is cluttered with so many competing services trying to catch our attention and lost on the page is core functionality customers want – web search. Compare it with Google’s home page and focus on the core service of web search.

Success Management

The big question, what is your business doing to stay relevant in the next 40 years? You must learn to manage success. The danger in achieving tremendous success is that it makes one lose sight of what is ahead. It creates a certain complacency and this ultimately leads to downfall. Yahoo was once the largest name on the internet; today they are no more. Nokia was once that biggest deal in telecommunication; Tecno took the market right under their nose. PDP was once the largest political party in Africa; today they are the opposition. Nigeria was once the biggest economy in Africa; well, the jury is still out on that. All of these names have one thing in common: at the peak of success they lost sight of the future and by the time they came around to it, it was too late. When you gain success, do not relax. Keep your eyes on the future. There is a story in the Bible about a man who gathered up his wealth and wanted to relax and enjoy for the rest of his life. God called him a fool!

Know when to close shop and sell

There is one more important lesson in Yahoo that investors need to know, which is don’t fall in love with your investments and know when to sell.

1998: Yahoo refuse to buy Google for $1Million.

2002: Yahoo realizes it’s mistake and tried to buy Google for $3Billion. Google says ” Give us $5Billion”, Yahoo says no.

2008: Yahoo refuses to be sold to Microsoft for $40Billion dollars.

2016: Yahoo sold for $4.6 Billion to Verizon.

User or Customer Experience Management

While trying to be everything to everyone on the internet, Yahoo failed to focus on the user experience – quality and speed of search results. And it quickly lost ground to the “newcomer” Google in early 2000s. Yahoo had great service with Yahoo messenger but failed to capitalize on the strength, especially when social media took off in a major way in 2008 and in 2009. As a result, Facebook(Facebook Messenger & WhatsApp) capitalized on the opportunity and have dominated the market.

In conclusion, business owners should not focus on money alone, but on the usability of their service or product. Google has three things they follow whenever they are introducing a new product or service:

– they focus on invention or innovation.

-the look at the usability of the product or service to the public, if it is commanding traffick that is millions are using it, then the go to the next step

– they then start looking at ways to monitize

We can learn from this as business owners. Business owners should be able proactive in their thinking and action.


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