February 9, 2016

VIEWPOINT 2016: Ricardo Fuentes, CEO/President, MATECH

VIEWPOINT 2016: Ricardo Fuentes, CEO/President, MATECH
Ricardo Fuentes, CEO/President, MATECH
OK, since everybody seems to be piling it on Apple lately, I do not feel too bad to add to the fray. But, in a more serious vein, what's going on with Apple is one of those lessons that we all hear about, but of which we always seem to have a more historical perspective. It is interesting to see it happen in real time--for as long as it is not happening to us. The lesson that I am talking about is about innovation.

Innovation is the vital ingredient in the recipe for long term existence, at least for long term growth. In the example of Apple, we are looking at a company with last quarter revenue of $74.6 billion and a net quarterly profit of $18.4 billion. Not bad by any measure.

Why? Is being the largest company in the world with some of the most prominent and popular products in the world not good enough? Well, maybe. What people fear is that Apple is out of innovation juice. Perhaps unfairly, since after the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad; each a market disruptor, it became hard to keep up a pace like that.

Nevertheless, what people--and markets--seem to reward is the existence (or the perception of the existence) of a future of innovation. All industries are subject to this tyranny. It's the circle of life: Anything new will become old, imitated, cheapened, and eventually commoditized; bringing the time for a new "new," and so on.

So, why is continued innovation so hard to keep up? That is the big question. Innovation is a hard thing to do since it is the epitome of non-linear thinking and one of the highest forms of human expression. You need to look to the sides, above and below. Think different. See confluences of technologies, materials, cultural traits, social trends, and many more components of a future product. And then, embody that thought into something that had not existed before and that people will want. It's a tall order.

At MATECH, with each of our products, we try to do just that. We keep on looking ahead, but also up, down, left and right. We don't let the daily grind keep us from that. We think about all the "what if's" we can, and keep up with as many trends as we can. We never know when another big idea will come, but that does not mean we should not try.

Ricardo Fuentes, CEO/President
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