4 Simple Questions That Can Re-vitalise Growth for Your Cash Cow

Every organisation that has seen some success has some form of a cash cow, which continues to grow and provide the fuel necessary for the organisation to invest in new products or services, which can bring in the next level of growth for the organisation.

It is also inevitable that at some point in time the growth in the cash cow would slow down. If by that time, the organisation doesn’t already have another product/service that can take the place of the cash cow, then the organisation is in troubled waters, when it comes to continuing to grow.

The general response, in this scenarios is for the leaders to do one of the following:

  • Spend more money in advertising the cash cow, assuming that by spending more money (in the form of advertisement or offers), they will be able to continue the growth in the cash cow for some more time.
  • Go out to acquire a product that can provide the growth for the organisation. Unfortunately, most such acquisitions don’t pan out well for the acquiring companies.
  • Start an innovation project with the intention of creating the next high growth product internally.

Unfortunately, almost all of these efforts, while may work for a short term, will eventually come back to a stalled growth.

In their book “The Power of Little Ideas“, David Robertson shares his perspectives on how answering 4 simple (but extremely difficult questions) can solve this dilema. 

The questions are as below:

  1. What is the key product?
  2. What is your promise for the key product?
  3. How will you innovate around the key product to satisfy the promise?
  4. How will you deliver the innovations?

He goes on to share how organisations as diverse as GoPro, Apple, Disney, SAP, Lego, CarMax and others found answers to their growth by finding answers to these questions and how they can lead any organisation to create a set of complimentary solutions that not only help continue the growth but can also lead to significant competitive advantage as your product strategy is no longer uni-dimensional but becomes multi-dimensional.

He also goes on to share some of the mines that organisations would need to be careful of when engaged in this approach and shares how to do so.


In conclusion, I think that most of what David shares in his book, is applicable to any organisation which has seen good success in a product category and wants to cement their growth and presence in their category. What is great about this approach is that this doesn’t require the organisation to bet their entire organisation or strategy on a new, untested product or service but find growth through existing, well tested products or services.

If you are tasked with growing an existing product or service that is showing signs of slowing down, do take some time and read the book – “The Power of Little Ideas” by David Robertson. He has a lot of insights that will benefit you in finding growth again.

The future of TV

With the convergence of Internet, high-speed broadband and smart devices (smart phones and tablets), everyone agrees that the TV as we know it will no longer be the same. Apart from the hardware itself morphing into different shapes and sizes, getting more and more intelligent and connected, the content and the way it is consumed will also see a dramatic shift.

Everyone has their own predictions and are investing in the future accordingly. Erica Emmich, CNBC Associate Producer , did speak to a lot of experts and asked them on what are their predictions for the future of  TV.

  • Ashton Kutcher (Actor, Producer, Tech Investor) believes that with high quality content available on the internet, the advertising dollars will shift from traditional TV to web-based content providers and will then create an equal footing for both mediums. He also says that with the web-based content, one could use analytics to understand the user and hence have the possibility to create content specific to users. He runs a channel on Youtube called Thrashlab. You can watch the interview with Ashton here.
  • Brian Roberts (CEO, Comcast Corp.) seems to be betting on the integration of TV with social networking, creating what could potentially be Social TV. He believes that content will still be the king. His entire interview is here.
  • Barry Diller (Chairman, IAC, Investor in Aereo) believes that customers will want to watch TV whereever they are and on whatever device they want to. He has backed this belief by investing in the start-up Aereo. His interview is here.
  • Dick Costolo (CEO, Twitter) believes that the TV in the future would become more interactive and people could use 2 screens, one to watch the content and another to watch a live stream of communications happening about the content. He also believes that this could even lead to real live feedback loop with the programming itself. His interview is here.
  • Bob Iger (CEO, Disney) again believes that consumers would want to watch their TV content whereever they are, on whatever device they have access to. His interview is here.
  • Jeff Bewkes (CEO, Time Warner) also believes that consumers would want to watch their content on a device of their choice but at the same time also believes that consumers will subscribe for the content (irrespective of the channel of delivery). His interview is here.
  • Robert Kyncl (VP, Global Content, YouTube) believes that there are a lot of content creaters (good, bad and ugly) and they would want to create a platform for all of them to create and share content. There will be room for niche producers of content with a niche following (for which there is no possibility in the current state of affairs). He also believes that  use of intelligent analytics, they will be able to provide personalized content suggestions. What this all means is that the content producers will have a lot more creative control on the content itself.
  • Jason Kilar (CEO, Hulu)  says, “The future of television is all about people getting what they want, when they want, how they want it.” He also believes in the power of analytics to understand what would interest the consumers and decide on the content accordingly.

Also, on the other end of the spectrum, you find companies like Nokia who think that consumers would be interested in broadcasting snippets of their lives and experience live for their friends and family to watch it from wherever they are. Nokia has bet on this via its initiative called http://www.nokiachannelme.com/. Though their current positioning is not very interesting, the possibilities are enormous.

Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, we have TwitchTV announcing the first PC game with built-in live streaming capability. This could well be the start of a series of game producers to announce similar features built in their games, could be called “Gamestreaming”.

We also have the http://www.thefutureoftv.org, run by National Association of Broadcasters, talks about hyper-local content and the effect it has on the local economy in the US

My opinion:

In my opinion, I think that the future of TV could look something like this:

  • Most of the TV sets will be connected to the internet and the cable will at sometime in the near future become redundant.
  • All content will be available on all devices, all the time.
  • You will have more choice on what you watch – a movie or a series on HBO, some special moment in the life of your son studying in a different city, watch-over your parents in their old-age home, interact with the hosts of a live chat show or plain old news channel.

The lines between video-conference, IP calls and TV will blur. Just like news  got democratized, TV content will also get democratized.

In short, TV (television) would gradually change to IV (Internet Vision or Internet video).

What could TV content providers do:

In my opinion, TV channels should embrace the change by giving opportunities to their viewers to influence the programming in the channels. Some exampes could be:

  • Users of HBO can create an online channel where they can select and play content from HBO’s repository. People could follow such a channel. The advertising revenue could be split between the channel and the person who owns the content programming of the channel.
  • TV news channels can provide opportunity for their viewers to host their own online news channels, where they can talk about the local news or news specific to a cause or on any topic that they are passionate about. Again, the revenue could be split between the channel and the user. Others with similar interest could follow these channels.

This kind of interactions will create more options for the viewers and also ensure that the TV channels and their brands are on top of what is happening in and around them.

So, what do you think the future of TV is going to look like? I would very much like to know.. Please do share your thoughts by commenting on this post..