How can an opportunity turn into a nopportunity?

An opportunity can turn into a nopportunity if over time its method of providing service doesn’t change to adapt to a changing environment.

Usually, a big opportunity becomes a nopportunity because of factors that are external rather than internal. The external factors typically would come from something in the market or domain.

The domain means everything outside the market, such as changes in technology, regulations, fashions, politics, etc. This shifts the way people do things.

Consider the example of Kodak. It exploited the opportunity to sell film to the masses, and over decades it scaled up this opportunity all over the world. Eventually, Kodak film was sold everywhere.

But suddenly, something in its environment changed, and film became a nopportunity. Not because there was anything wrong with its film, but because there was now a better way of taking pictures without using film.

It’s not that Kodak did anything wrong. Its film was excellent, well priced, and universally available. It wasn’t its fault that the world changed and transformed its opportunity into a nopportunity.

Technology shifted, leaving its business model behind. It’s not that people stopped taking pictures. In fact, these days, people take many more pictures than ever before.

Companies allow opportunities to change into nopportunities because they pursue a mission of profits and fail to pursue a mission of useful service.

Because of its mission of profit, Kodak was determined to extract the full value out of its billions of dollars of investment in legacy technology, factories, and distribution.

Because it failed to have a mission of useful service, it failed to understand that the emerging digital technology was an infinitely better way of taking pictures.