If you think about the Apple iPhone, sure, its iOS is nice, but its strength comes from the thousands of cool apps. Without the cool apps, the iPhone is just a touchscreen phone with Mail, Safari, and other basic applications.

Since Apple cannot produce, let alone fathom, all of the wonderful apps, the company employs the creativity of the coding community and shares the profits through royalties. This is considered the business ecosystem!

In a way, Apple has created a symbiotic relationship with developers. Apple relies on developers and developers rely on Apple. This is the same for many other industries as well. However, this can only happen if a number of items are aligned.

Fitbit & Tory Burch

Fitbit is a new wearable technology that tracks a person’s daily activity, calorie burning, and sleep and weight progresses. For a while, Fitbit was stuck with its basic colors – black, gray, and a couple of others.

It was not until recently when the company reached a certain level of users that it attracted outside endorsements, notably Tory Burch Fitbit accessories.

tory burch fitbit

Ecosystem Requirements

There are a number of items, not all nor limited to, that need to be aligned in order for an ecosystem to occur.

  • Large User Base – Similar to Tory Burch, many companies only started creating accessories for iDevices (e.g., iPod docking stations on speakers, ellipticals, alarm clocks, etc.) the moment iDevices reached a large enough pool of potential clients
  • Lead Development – Whether it is sending out design teams or developing SDKs (software development kits), there needs to be some uniformity. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a congruent look or feel.
  • Connect Resources – Make sure that your ecosystem has every resource needed to be successful. This may include webinars, capital investment, etc.
  • Secure Financial Transactions – Whether it’s B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer), people need to have trust that payment will be made promptly and securely.
  • Sponsor and Promote Businesses in Ecosystem – Yes, the core company is helping third party companies grow. However, the more happy they are, the more they will develop for the core company!

All of this leads to evangelism.

When it comes to creative artists, what is your ecosystem? Your ecosystem should include the following below. The processes will differ for every business (refer to above).

  • Clients – Clients can refer other clients … or themselves! They can become repeat customers. How do you increase retention?
  • Vendors – Friends in the industry could refer applicable leads to you. How do you maintain this relationship? (for my photo readers, this includes PhotogRefers or local Facebook Groups)


Lawrence Chan

P.S. There are so many wonderful restaurants in New York that I could probably dine at a new establishment every time and still have options. I’m turning into a 肥猫 (fat cat), but definitely a happy one.