Who is the biggest Market-Shaper Amazon? Apple? Alibaba? The answer will surprise you.
Every startup is a Dreamer. They are skilled at discovering the problems that even a consumer cannot articulate. They innovate and pivot till they find the sweet spot that allows them to grow to some more cities beyond their home turf. A handful of Dreamers then achieves that magical combination of speed and scale to establish their presence across the country to qualify as a Unicorn. Just as every Dreamer does not become a Unicorn, every Unicorn does not achieve the mythical status of a Market Shaper. A Market Shaper’s impact is global. Their numbers are staggering.
Size and scale
WhatsApp is a Market Shaper with a 100bn messages per day being sent across the world. Alphabet revenue were up 20% year on year, Facebook grew by 22% & Amazon’s net sales improved 37% in a year that saw most business shutter or sputter. In 2020, Amazon has hired 400k people this year, and now employs 1.12m people. Alibaba raked in $56 billion during the single day shopping bonanza on 11 November 2020.
In August 2018, after 42 years of being formed Apple reached $1 trillion in value. In just two more years Apple became the world’s first $2 trillion company in August 2020. While the global economy shrank faster than ever before in the coronavirus pandemic, Apple’s value increased by a trillion dollars between April and August 2020, just 21 weeks to add a trillion. So who is the biggest Market Shaper of them all?
Who is bigger than Apple or Amazon or Alibaba?
It is COVID-19 that has been the largest Market Shaper. Its impact has been bigger than anything else that Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon or Alibaba has produced. COVID-19 is present in countries where even these companies have not been able to reach. A Market Shaper has to constantly earn the trust of its stakeholders – not just shareholders.
Facebook has been accused of everything from election interference to hate speech. Google is being hauled up for anti-competitive practices. Shanghai Zhizhen has alleged that the iPhone and iPad maker’s products violated the patent the Chinese artificial-intelligence company owns for a virtual assistant whose technical architecture is similar to Siri’s. Alibaba’s financial arm Ant group would have had the biggest IPO in history but the Chinese government pulled it back at the last minute. Every Market Shaper has to grapple with winning the trust of its stakeholders, especially the regulators and consumers.
The biggest roadblock is trust
COVID-19 has faced trust issues from its early days. People debated its origin and conspiracy theories came up to explain that the virus was manufactured by vested interests. “If anything kills over 10 million people over the next few decades, it is likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than war,” said Bill Gates in a TED talk that’s viewed more than 64 million times. Instead of applauding his foresight, Gates has become the face of the conspiracy theory behind the pandemic’s spread.
At every stage of the pandemic in every country, there have been an evident lack of trust. At first people were despairing that there was no vaccine in sight. As soon as Pfizer announced that they had a vaccine ready, people speculated that it would be accessible only to the wealthy. When Gates Foundation added $70 million in additional funds to ensure that the poor countries have access to the vaccine, there were conspiracy theorists who smiled knowingly.
Even if the vaccine is available and safe for use, eventually the individual has to decide to take the jab. The parents have to decide that their newborn will be safe. While countries are trying to invest in research to develop the vaccine, communication experts must work to create trust in the citizens. The vaccine will not prevent the spread of the virus, it will be trust.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.