what do angry birds, amazon and google have in common

You’ve just got to marvel at the speed of change…

I remember growing up thinking my Atari was pretty dang sweet. Five friends and I all huddled around at 12 inch black and white TV watching an intense game of what passed for video baseball back then. This was living in the 80s.

We all knew the graphics suckedbut we loved it none the less. After all, it was cutting edge technology at the time.

What a difference a few decades makes. Today we have our choice of platforms. Some prefer Sony’s Playstation, while others prefer the online service that Microsoft’s XBox delivers. Younger children opt for Nintendo Wii thanks to numerous incarnations of Pokemon and Mario. My 5-year-old son would love to get his hands on a DS, but has to make do the iPadboo hoo.

I guess you could call me somewhat of a geek.

I don’t have the first idea about programming, but I do love technology so I keep my ear to the ground when it comes to games, computers, smar tphones, cameras and speakers.

Over the Xmas holidays I was tasked with organizing presents for my son. Last year I did most of my Xmas shopping online, but this time round I found myself having to do everything last minute. Thank goodness for Toy’s ‘R’ Us.

I picked up a few brain teasers, some stocking stuffers, and a few other things that wouldn’t break the bank. Personally, I always enjoy walking around a toy store once a year or so because you get to see a bunch of crazy new ideas along side some timeless classics. This time one item in particular caught my eye. It was an Angry Birds toy which was to be used with the app on the iPad.

I must admit I was tempted to add that to his stocking, but at $30 I felt it was a little rich for my blood.

But it made me think.

Just a few short years ago Angry Birds was just a popular app on the iPhone.

Today, it’s a billion dollar company that has numerous versions available, some free, some paid. More than that though, it was obvious from my time in Thailand that they had made the jump into the physical world.

An Angry Bird gizmo to use with your iPad, an Angry Bird helicopter of sorts, Angry Bird T-Shirts and Angry Bird stationary were just a few things I happened to come across while I was there.

It intrigued me so much that I decided to check out their latest game (free), Angry Birds Go, which is similar to the blockbuster hit Mario Kart.

Naturally, you start off with the basic car, but can upgrade as you earn points. Out of curiosity, I decided to check out what cars were available. Some needed gold, which could either be earned through race victories while others needed to be bought, others could be bought. The price, $30-50. For a carin a gamethat was free.

Talk about genius.

They have millions of people all over the world downloading the app for free which gives them access to a hungry market. Then they proceed to offer them upgrades which allow them to speed through the levels. All for the low price of $50. Suddenly the digital world has become a whole lot real.

What’s even more amazing is that is more than the price of an actual game cartridge for the Nintendo DS, which you could sell later.

Angry Birds is just one example of our world undergoing an incredible shift. Thirty years ago, there was no such thing as the digital world. Now, with every passing day, the digital world is becoming part of our real world.

Google started out doing one thing: search. Over time it has expanded to cover GMail (email), Picasa (photos), Google Drive (online storage), Google Docs (office), Google Maps (navigation), and Google Earth which have helped make it more than a one trick pony. And now we’re seeing their first physical products (Google Glass and Google Chromebook) on the market. It makes me wonder if we’ll ever see a Google store?

Not to be outdone, Amazon has just started to offer the Kindle at vending machines in airports. To me, that’s just a test run.

I can see the day when we will be able to pick up items at various locations throughout the world within days or even hours of ordering them.

These are just three companies that I feel have figured it out. Being online is one thing, but the ultimate goal is not simply to be in front of people when they sit in front of their computers, but to be around them everywhere they go. Online and off.

It’s an amazing model that all entrepreneurs need to take notice of.

This is the future. In the 20th century, it was an industrial world. Then along came the Internet and we were thrust into the digital age. Now, the world is maturing and showing us the model for business success in the 21st century.

Online is where it all begins. There’s social media, crowdfunding, webinars, and so much more that allow us to get started with very little capital and build up our business without the cost of overhead.

However, solely relying on the Internet to acquire customers isn’t easy which is why even the best Internet marketers have discovered that it still pays to do direct marketing.

Google, Amazon and Angry Birds are showing us that they see this shift, too.

To be fair, there are some companies that have successfully moved from the physical realm to the digital world, such as ABC’s hit-show Castle. Now offering books and comics based on the characters of the TV show. But I have found that by far the greater success lies in the opposite direction.

The future belongs to the entrepreneurs and businesses that cater to both the online and offline world. And it’s one of the secrets of success in the maturing digital age.

Adrian Shepherd

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