Virtualised companies

The London cab firm Addison Lee has created a great deal of commentary about the great deal of business that they have generated from getting into the world of mobile apps early. They were already of a reasonable size, so have been able to invest in technology to gain an early mover advantage in the London market.

On the tube this morning I noticed an advert for a new contender: Kabbee. This is an interesting development, and shows how software being offered as a service has the potential to disrupt larger businesses by separating out the production of software from the main focus of a business (in this case shifting people and things from a to b in minicabs).

It looks like the Kabbee model is a service and brand that smaller cab firms can sign up to. Something akin to Just Eat in the takeaway food world, but for taxis. It seems to me to be the inevitable evolution of apps and services: early ideas discounted because no competitors are doing it; large player enters market by doing it for themselves; software as a service takes hold as model and technology is proven. The big question becomes whether a player like Addison Lee’s early adoption leaves them with an asset or a hindrance.

Another interesting by product of this is that traditional models of business success through endless expansion start to get challenged. When small businesses have access to the same or better means of production than large players (and that is the promise of the services world) do we end up with only the small and the enormous?

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