Why Did Segway Fail?

March 15, 2021
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When I first saw it, I was amazed.  What a marvel of technology and engineering.  Self-balancing?  OMG!

Then, when I stepped onto one the first time, I was even more impressed.  It read my mind!  It anticipated my every move!  How intuitive!

Laurie and I were obsessed with them, taking any opportunity we could, while on vacations, to hop on one and ride around.   When visiting a new destination, it was our preferred method of getting to know the place.  Invariably, we enjoyed the technology and came away enthused from the experience.

I even looked into buying a pair.  Not just one but two as to duplicate the vacation experiences we so enjoyed.  That’s when I knew that; HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.”

Then, on July 1, 2020, Segway stopped production of their “personal transport” unit that had so amazed and entertained us.  Boy was I glad I didn’t buy one…or two!

At the same time, it seemed like e-scooters were proliferating like rabbits all over the place.  On my daily pandemic walks, I often see scooters zooming along the streets.  Not a Segway in sight.

This isn’t the first time a low tech or inferior product beat out a high tech or superlative one.  In the 70’s there was Sony’s BETA system, which competed with a poorer quality VHS system for taping and watching videos.  BETA required a proprietary system to use its tapes while VHS was ubiquitous.  Anyone, it seemed, could manufacture a VHS system and the prices reflected that reality.

Dentists seem to have the “bright shiny object” syndrome.  Many a dentist has fallen in love with a system and technology that wound up as a Segway and Beta recorder.   Please don’t fall into that trap.

What technology or system will be the subject of the next BETA or SEGWAY debacle?  Such an analysis and prediction are often beyond the thinking of mere mortals.  We’re too busy treading today’s water, trying to stay afloat.

Daniel Burrus one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation.  It’s his mission to observe, analyze and strategize.  His thought processes are not unique, but they are rare.  They’re not taught in schools, but they are learnable.  They are gifts but they can be shared. 

When you get your head above the water, what do you see on the horizon?  Are there any obstacles in the way?  What’s the weather going to be?  Will there be smooth sailing ahead as you move towards your goals?

If it were March 2020, would you have been able to predict, as Daniel Burrus did, which trends would take hold, and which might not?

After reading his book “The Anticipatory Organization”

and after having the opportunity to speak with Daniel directly about Dentistry (you can watch the videos we recorded on the Practice Perfect System website),

 I was able to direct my clients in the most effective ways to use, what Daniel had predicted would be a “Hard Trend” in healthcare, that is the use of remote systems such as Telemedicine.

The value of “thinking” in an anticipatory manner cannot be understated.  The importance of being able to navigate the road ahead, with all its potential potholes, roadblocks and necessary detours, is greater than ever.  One could say, it’s a matter of making your future Segway-proof.

Segway was never able to “cross the chasm,” progressing from early adopter to mainstream market as Geoffrey Moore describes in his seminal book, “Crossing the Chasm.”  They floundered, as BETA did and as some of the current technologies undoubtedly will as well. Neither Segway nor Sony understood the trends in their respective markets.  

With the cost of technology as high as it is and the cost of implementation in time, effort and morale, as steep as it is, taking a chance and investing in a Dental Segway can be devastating. I’ve often seen that, when doctors try to incorporate cad/cam or dental sleep medicine into their practices.

Having the mindset and thought processes that will enable you to see what the Hard and SoftTrends are will enable you to focus on those technologies and strategies that will stick aroundand be worthy of your consideration and investment.  It will also enable you to get a jump on the competition.

The practices that began using Telehealth in March 2020 have successful navigated the tumultuous seas caused by this Pandemic.  They have a head start.

There may have been no way to predict the level of impact the pandemic was going to have on all of us, but it has given us new opportunities and, better yet, it has taught us that resting on our laurels and relying solely on agility can, even in the most extreme circumstances, can be the end of the line for many.

How much is having a head start worth today?

Ask Amazon.  They created the first online bookstore.  Before the brick and mortar stores knew what hit them, they were gone or significantly diminished.

Ask Netflix?  Seen any Blockbuster stores lately?

Don’t be a dental Segway. Don’t get Blockbustered. Take a look at the program Daniel Burrus has created.  The Anticipatory Leader program is just what you, the captain of your ship needs to help you navigate the waters ahead.

Learn more at: HERE

To your excellent clarity and success,

Michael, Laurie, Merideth and the PPS team

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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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