Three things stood out which seem particularly relevant to anyone working in innovation today:
1. The founders had a vision and pursued it relentlessly: When the founders started Shazam, the technology to make it work did not exist yet, and they had no certainty that it was even possible.
“Usually, a technology exists first before a team tries to commercialize it. Here, we did things the other way around.”
2. The right partnerships made their vision possible: In order to make their vision a reality, the Shazam team talked to anyone and everyone in the audio processing world until they found someone who could help - Avery Wang, the creator of the Shazam algorithm. But even he wasn’t sure he could do it.
“When they described the challenge to me, I also had no clue how to do it or even where to begin.”
3. Turning up for lessons can be useful: The idea for Shazam came to Chris Barton following a class in Strategic Innovation he’d attended at London Business School, which prompted him to examine his business idea from a different angle.
It’s a great piece, extracted from Newnham’s book Mad Men of Mobile, and contains this final piece of advice from Dhiraj Mukherjee:
“My advice is not to look at the market today but to aim for what the market will look like in the future.”