Half-baked idea: The unbearable lightness of being the biggest


(WARNING: "Half-baked ideas" are potential articles I'm working on where I don't have enough information yet, don't have an opinion yet, or both. This post will change as the idea develops. When this idea grows up to be a real article -- or proves itself to be a dead end -- this post will be deleted.)

In olden times (20 years ago), the key business dominance was to own everything. The biggest oil companies owned everything from hole to hole (from the oil drilling to the gas tank). McDonald's dominated by owning the restaurant buildings and the land they were built on, etc. 

But now? Not so much: 

  • Amazon is the biggest US store; owns almost no stores. 
  • Alibaba is the biggest store; has no inventory
  • Uber is the biggest car driving service; owns almost no cars
  • Facebook is the biggest source of content; creates no content
  • AirBnB is the biggest source of lodging; owns no lodgings
  • Netflix is the biggest source of TV; is not a TV station

So what does this mean?

(Props on the idea from Steve Burns and Christopher Mims.)