The Growth Stage does not last forever and the great ventures realize that they must continually repeat the Demo/Sell/Build actions of Ideation/VoD/Growth. In others words, they must rebootstrap. And if they are still involved with their companies, founders are the best-equipped to lead this process. Virgin and Apple are two of the most prominent and successful rebootstrap companies in the current landscape. Both are still led by their Evangelist founders, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson and rebootstrap in different ways.
Virgin finds Maven partners in different industries and uses its unique Evangelist core, to take the ventures through Ideation, Valley of Death and Growth. Virgin Galactic is a fine example of this process, partnering with Maven, Burt Rutan to create one of the first low-orbital space vehicles (Demo/Ideation). With the tagline, "Space is Virgin Territory," flights have already been pre-sold years before the vehicles are ready (Sell/VoD). Using its unique technology design sensibility, Apple has recently extended beyond personal computers and made successful forays into music and telephony with iTunes/iPod and iPhone.
All the bootstrap principles are in play. Neither company is guaranteed success with any of its new undertakings (Apple TV is yet to take off) and must discover the unique business model through bootstrapping - there is no skipping of steps. Apple's first version of the iPhone was the ROKR, a partnership with Motorola, incorporating iTunes. While not a dramatic success, it allowed the company to learn and subsequently develop the iPhone.
Apple and Virgin's continual rebootstrap efforts have led to the discovery of entirely new multi-billion dollar markets. Both companies demonstrate the power of a founder's continued involvement in their venture, long after the first Valley of Death is crossed.
Many large companies, occupied with the concerns of growing and defending existing products, rebootstrap in spite of themselves. Internal bootstrappers start clandestine projects in a process coined, "bootlegging." Bootstrap's Rebootstrap service helps large organizations proactively foster and support these efforts.
Great post Bijoy.
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