The Verizon guy who turned down the iPhone

Given the mass hysteria, it’s probably not so good to be Denny Strigl this week. He’s the COO at Verizon quoted with pride about turning down the iPhone deal (Verizon turned down iPhone’s advances.)

The reason you need to care about this: Almost everyone is like Denny.

Most innovative business people who dream of bizdev imagine that they can be just like Steve Jobs. Come up with a super idea, a useful service, a great gizmo and go to an industry leader. Sign lots of NDAs and go to lots of meetings. Demand that they change their ways in order to make your wonderful innovation a game changer, something that will fix their broken industry and make you both a lot of money.

Hey, Steve Jobs himself couldn’t do it at Verizon. The list of big companies that didn’t jump on game changing ideas is huge. Almost as long as the list of great companies you didn’t buy stock in when you had the chance.

The iPhone/AT&T deal is almost certainly the exception that proves Godin’s law of bizdev: No is the default answer. The spreadsheets and the marketing team and the CFO and the lawyers have no trouble at all defending the status quo, because, it’s their status quo. They created it and they like it that way. Bizdev deals like this almost always fail because the potential for upside seems too small compared to the mammoth disruption that organizations imagine will beset them.

Plan on going under, over or around instead.