The depths of the Grand Canyon
April 01, 2008
The upcoming months will present economic challenges to companies in the embedded computing industry.
I recently completed a backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon with my Scout troop. Anyone who has ever ventured into the depths of the Grand Canyon understands how challenging the effort can be, especially if you are not properly prepared. In reflecting on the excursion, I was intrigued by how similar it was to the challenges of traversing the business world.
To plan for our hike, we did a lot of research and tapped into the wealth of experience within the troop. We studied trails for their vistas and challenges (our rewards), just like how companies conduct market research before entering into a market. We planned menus and selected gear. Experience taught us to schedule the trip during the cooler month of February to avoid the strenuous heat of summer. We also knew that the trails at this time of year could be icy; it had snowed quite a bit earlier this year, so we expected to encounter some snow at the beginning of the descent. This meant that we needed to carry ice walkers to use on our boots during the frosty sections of the trail. Once the entire plan was in place, we were ready to execute our strategy.
Off we went over the edge, gradually descending into the Grand Canyon. We immediately ran into snow that was reasonably easy to hike over, though the trail was steep and slippery. Some members of the crew were loaded too heavily, and the excess weight of their gear caused them to break through the snow with almost every step. They struggled to advance down the trail, much like a company that becomes too ambitious and spends extra energy and resources to advance in the market.
Everyone made it to the top at their own pace. We eventually returned safely from our trek, and its impact affected my crew in different ways. For some, it was an interesting and exciting challenge, one they look forward to tackling again. For others, it taught them a lesson about the importance of planning and preparing, which will make future treks easier for them to navigate. And some will never journey this way again; the simple fact that they survived was inspiration for them to seek other ventures perhaps more suitable for their skill sets.
In a similar manner, the upcoming months will present economic challenges to companies in the embedded computing industry. Some will fail. Others will struggle to make it out of the canyon. Those that have done their research, invested in the necessary preparations, and made sure they‚Äôre in sound shape will emerge stronger and ready to take on the next challenge.
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