Your Invest Near Oases in Deserts

Your Invest Near Oases in Deserts

In the One Oasis Strategy, a management guide, I made the case that companies must invest to deepen the capabilities of their best products (their oases). It makes sense because every good investor in a desert would like to invest near the oasis because that is the best place in the desert.

Amazon is an ecommerce company with massive user base. It supports billions of transactions in a year and needs computing resources to keep its portal functioning well. Amazon could have called IBM to rent a cloud infrastructure for its ecommerce. Rather, Amazon decided to build one in-house knowing that the future of its ecommerce will be driven by the capacity to offer great experiences to clients. The cloud infrastructure investment is necessary as growth in the ecommerce keeps going up. It does not make sense to be sending that money away. So, Amazon went and invested in cloud. The ecommerce is the oasis and the cloud is like the animal that finds habitation from the oasis. Provided the ecommerce is doing well, the investment in cloud has minimal risk. The first customer to the cloud business was ecommerce and that means Amazon does not have to worry if there is any external customer for the cloud services. Amazon does not need to check market dynamics to invest in cloud provided its ecommerce business is doing well.

But interestingly, after time, Amazon did find opportunities in the external market to sell its cloud services. Those services are now called Amazon Web Services (AWS). Tekedia is hosted on AWS, just as many websites which include brands like Dropbox and Instagram, present or in the past. The oasis (the ecommerce) has been served by the new product (cloud) and now that new product is making profit for Amazon.

We are developing toolkits around this strategy on how organizations can ascertain their oases and invest around them. (Those toolkits would be available in the store when ready.) The goal is to mitigate external market risks by investing around the first customer which is already inside.


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