Misleading comparisons – Time to stop

“It took the telephone 78 years to get 100m users - it took Candy Crush 12 months”

“Amex was founded in 1850 has 109m customers, Paypal founded in 1998 has 185m customers”

We’ve all heard these stories of meteoric Unicorns. A Unicorn is a name given to a rapidly growing digital based business with a valuation over $1b. Slack, Uber, Airbnb, Spotify and so on.

But there is one thing about these comparisons between Unicorns and older businesses that frustrates us.

The Internet did not exist when these older businesses were launched.

Can you imagine if Paypal has to go around to every customer, install a terminal, then setup an ultra slow data connection through a modem down the phone line in order to take a payment. Do you think that would have taken off? Do you think they would have achieved the growth they have? Of course not! Paypal only achieved scale because the infrastructure was already in place. Amex had to use paper. Card machines where the paper receipt was then POSTED for processing and it took 7 days for purchases to register on your account. 

Can you imagine a Candy Crush existing like ‘Spot the ball’ competitions or even the old Atari games that were console based. Of course not.

So let’s show some respect to these big old dinosaurs. They paved the way for some of the young upstarts to exist.