This was Forbes Magazine Cover 12 years ago.

November Issue, 2007.

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12 years ago, on November 12th, 2007, Forbes magazine ran a FrontPage featuring Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo (Nokia’s then CEO) holding a Nokia series 6xxx flip phone. The title on the FrontPage reads: Nokia, One Billion Customers – CAN ANYONE CATCH THE CELL PHONE KING?

The world is changing at an exponential rate. And just over 12 years, innovative tech companies did not only catch NOKIA, but crushed the cell phone King…ouch!

“We now live in a world where change has changed. Change used to be gradual but change is now rapid and exponential. Companies that don’t disrupt themselves become outpaced or even wiped out, the same goes for individuals who resist change, refuses to reinvent/upkill themselves and try new things.” ~Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted

In 2007, Nokia was the undisputed king on the cell phone market. Because of its dominance, the company was inert to change and refused to acknowledge the shift the industry was making. In the same year, Apple announced the original iPhone, and 12 years later, the iPhone is the most popular and recognizable smartphone on the planet, while the cell phone king (Nokia) exited the market selling its phone business to Microsoft. This shows that no one is too big to fail.

What Really Went Wrong?

Nokia is one of the oldest brands in the world, founded in 1865 and in 2007, the clear winner and god of the mobile market was Nokia. Everybody’s first cell phone may have been a Nokia phone, but that’s no longer the case today. So how did Nokia fall so far? Before the era of smartphones, it seemed that anybody who owned a mobile device owned a Nokia—thick as a brick, reliable, and durable enough to serve as a medieval bludgeon…(wink)

Nokia’s doom was themselves. I do believe that if they weren’t so stubborn, resistant to change and had jumped on the Android train a lot sooner, their mobile phone market would be completely different today. Stubbornness and a slow reaction to change or competition were responsible for Nokia’s downfall.

In my New Book, Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted, I’ve mentioned that “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is not about new Apps or new technologies. It is about a new era, new ways of thinking and new ways of doing business.”

Are you on par with the tech revolution? Are you empowering yourself for this shift in paradigm? Is your business agile enough? Are you stuck in the old way of doing things?

I hope Nokia’s story will serve as a reminder that it doesn’t matter who you are or how big you are. If you don’t disrupt yourself and evolve, you will get killed!

Reinventing From Within.

Not everything is a bad lesson with Nokia. There are also good lessons. Nokia is a pretty good example of reinvention. Nokia started as a paper mill in 1865, they’ve gotten pretty good at reinventing themselves over the years. Nokia was able to transform itself from a handset(mobile phone) maker to a telecommunications infrastructure company.

History teaches us that no one is completely safe in the free market. Only companies with agile business strategies and the best solutions in their fields will survive. Big corporations have to be willing to transform and reinvent from within. Just like Nokia did – from a paper mill to the world’s cell phone king, and now to the biggest network infrastructure company we know today.

Even though Nokia is slowly making its way back into the mobile phone industry with the launch of some amazing Android phones like Nokia 6, Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 8.1 and Nokia 9 PureView. Nokia phones are actually made by HMD Global, a Finnish company that licensed the use of the Nokia name.

Hopefully, the Nokia brand will regain some of the former glory on the phone market. We could be seeing Nokia Phone Brand strong as it once was in the smartphone market. There is a big chance for that.

What are your thoughts about Nokia? Does this article bring up any memories? Share your thoughts on the comments section below.

Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted” is a tool to equip individuals and businesses for the demands of the new economic era.

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2 Replies to “No One is too Big to Fail”

  1. Thia is one of the most insightful topics I have read so far, so hope to hear a follow up on Nokia’s reinvention story, although I think they are just merely going to play catch up, it’s always a great thing to hear about Tech from Tech enthusiasts. Thanks

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