It's great to see so many people leaving big corporates to work on their own ideas, and I think this idea of being creative and thinking outside the proverbial box is moving business in an interesting direction by increasing productivity and creativity, but also making big companies think about how they do business.
But, are there too many people, who think they can start a business (yes, that's what a startup is), and do you think the future is one of big companies buying out small businesses and using the 'startup model' to exploit their own initiatives and business development strategies?
What I hear at the Investor conferences is that there's a critical shortage of startups.
I think the biggest problem I see in 'Startup Land' today is that many people see it as a lifestyle choice versus being actual entrepreneurs. Many folks seem to feel entitled to create a startup. Fyi, today isn't unique, in fact the startup bubble of 2000 was twice as large as this one. It was more B2C oriented and the landscape was then littered with failed Cosmos and others. It's starting to happen in the B2B bubble we face today. But here's the thing - good companies with good products can always win.
The framing of the second paragraph is also odd. Companies will continue to acquire other companies for product, marketshare, brand, geography, technology - even talent. This is nothing new.
One could probably argue at any point in time there are too many start ups in a given market. The statistics for failed business is daunting! Today we are in a global market place and potentially your customers can be located any where. The basic premise to be successful has changed little,find a need not being filled and develop the product or service that will fill that need. Then work as hard as possible 24/7 promoting to the market that you have developed the best solution and a reasonable price to meet this need. If you can accomplish this you are on your way to building a successful start up company.
No, there's no saturation point for innovation. The competition issue comes when it's only "making a better mousetrap" but there are plenty of entirely new ideas. Not all of them are good ideas, but many are at least novel. If America has moved away from being the manufacturer, we have not moved away from being the inventors.
If you observe the the CPG big companies, you see them setting up individual brands as their own insulated organizations. These small divisions have to compete and succeed on their own without the hammer of the big parent. This accelerates the do-or-die cycle of testing ideas and gets rid of the losers more quickly. They're not necessarily using an acquisition model, but they do at least copy elements of the startup/entrepreneur.
The four companies I founded all started with the "I can do this better" philosophy. Three made money and one did not. That's not a bad track record. I expect that individuals with initiative will never run out of steam to launch new concepts or improvements to concepts. The biggest companies have recognized that it's hard to turn a big boat, so many have adopted (and will probably continue to do so) the small business model when adding to their portfolios as they continue to expand. It makes it harder to hide mistakes.
Will innovation stop?
Will the world run out of problems to solve?
Never saturated. Startups incubated with Silicon Valley standards have the best chances if their timing is right. Future brighter than ever with better tools in place.