One of the high points of Product Camp Vol 2 was listening to Ani Bhalekar‘s talk on S-Curves. I had my big Aha! moment while the concept made perfect sense to me. This blog post is derived from his talk.

Businesses, or the products of businesses, follow an S curve that are characterised by a shallow start, where only early adopters and niche markets buy the product or invest in the company. Then they experience a rapid growth, and the product or business has a dominant position in the market. After the rapid growth, these businesses maintain a high performance level but with little growth, which often signals a mature but saturated market.


Since every innovation that drives growth hits a plateau after attaining saturation, organisations should look for fostering more such S curves in the growth phase instead of waiting till saturation phase.



An example of a company trying to foster more S curves is Facebook. There is nothing else that explains its mindbloggling 17B acquisition of WhatsApp. This is because Facebook is beginning to plateau in its rate of growing base.



Biggest take away:  Keep looking for the S curves in your product.

There is however an interesting parallel that an S curve can be drawn to one’s own career. I highly recommend you to read this HBR article on Throw Your Life a Curve.