The Internet as the Great Equalizer


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In fact, at least when it comes to figuring out strategy, one excellent way to find the path to success is to find someone who is doing what you would want to do and study that successful execution. You can create a successful model and understand market dynamics.

You’ve seen it happen in business often before. For example, back in 1980’s, Motorola wanted to know whether cell phones were going to be a big hit. Nothing like it had been done before, so there were no trends to be analyzed. Instead, the company needed to look for a similar technology with market similar dynamics. Consider the unit sales of other new technologies that had taken the world by storm, ending up in about every household, in the first three years (cell phones, radios, television sets, fax machines, microwave ovens, etc.). Then look at how those technologies performed ten and even twenty years later. By considering adoption rates, you can figure what the payoff would be. Taking all this into consideration, it was clear that an investment in the cell phone business had the potential to be quite good. This adoption curve data then helped to figure out in what year cell phone sales would reach sufficient volume to repay the massive investment required to bring it to market.

The same method can apply on a personal level. As I planned my career as a first generation Indian American immigrant, I look for proxies like Sundar Pichai, Vinod Khosla, Sabeer Bhatia, and others. I relate closely to Sundar Pichai because he grew up in the same part of the country as I did. I saw a photo of him as a teen, hanging out with his friends with their bicycles, and it reminded me of my boyhood. When I heard one of Sundar’s presentations, I noticed that he emphasized that the “Internet is the greatest equalizer ever invented.” We have seen the power of the internet so far—especially the way it has transformed how we do business.

Internet has enabled smart, intelligent, talented people all over the world.  It has created a door for those who aren’t in large metropolitan areas and first world countries. Anybody with a computer and an internet connection could become an entrepreneur and participate in the global economy. The internet enables wealth to flow from higher levels to lower levels and make things a little more equal.

This dynamic is also true for smaller companies, both in the U.S. and abroad. The Internet has levelled the playing field, so that small companies can compete with big ones by leveraging technology. In some ways, smaller companies even have an advantage because of their agility and ability to adopt new technologies without being hampered by legacy systems. For example, many small 3PL companies are family owned and operated and have stayed in business. In the long term, they have executed well and have positioned themselves as an extended partner for larger customers.

Mobility has only accelerated this pace of change. Imagine those days before we had all of our fancy mobile devices. We couldn’t get things done while we were out of the office or home. Using work computers to get personal things was frowned upon. with our personal mobile devices, we download an app and get stuff done. Mobility has only accelerated the pace of everything.

Let’s look at one more example. Chinese commerce site Alibaba Group is trying to lure American companies to sell in China, reversing the traditional tide of commerce. Chairman Jack Ma, believes that there is great opportunity for American products in China, especially in the food and beverage, health and body care, home products and apparel categories. If he’s right, soon, US OEM’s will be flooded with calls from Chinese buyers. That is why cultural intelligence is even more important and people with exposure to multiple cultures will thrive. The full letter, where Ma touts the success of Pacific Northwest cherry growers and a New York-based sneaker company selling to China can be found here.

So what are some of the equalizing phenomenon do you see being created by the Internet and mobility? How are these trends this impacting your supply chain? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Originally published at on Feb 28, 2018.

Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. SG LoadProof is a patent pending Centralized Enterprise Photo/Video Document System on Cloud for Supply Chain. SG LP is built on the fact that photos & videos are vital docs as important as POs/SOs/Legal Contracts/Fulfillment Orders that reside in ERP/WMS/TMS systems, that serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal proof of crucial, critical, vital operations executed in Supply Chain within/across orgs when fulfilling customer orders as well as meeting contractual obligations between orgs as merchandise is transferred between different parties that partake in Supply Chain functions & operations. And these photos/videos data should not be stored in someone’s Smartphone or Email Inbox or in their personal/work Computer, but should be stored in a Centralized Enterprise system, where such data can be pushed into super-fast, stored securely, accessible to all stake holders (CFO/Sales Reps/Customer Support/AR/AP) in an org, as well as facilitates super-fast retrieval/sharing. LP is an Enterprise System of record for Photo/Video docs & is as important as an ERP which is an enterprise system of record for POs, SOs, Legal Contracts between parties etc. that have huge legal ramifications, also as important as a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that hold indispensable shipment & fulfillment data on orders. Like how Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. have evolved into social media platforms/systems that enable individuals to showcase their beauty/pretty clothes/lovely cosmetics/hep coolness etc., LoadProof is an Enterprise system that holds similar photos/videos, but for a different reason, not for show off, but to serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal & indisputable system of record and proof that can be presented even in the court of law, when there is a dispute between parties while they execute many facets of the Supply Chain functions & operations. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 25 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at Also follow him at