Startups are just better students of History than today’s REGRESSED Fortune 500’s

Startups are just better students of History than today’s REGRESSED Fortune 500’s

By Geoff De Weaver, CEO + Founder of Touchpoint Entertainment Inc.


As a pioneer in the Internet Marketing space since 1994/95 and working in San Francisco from 1998, it seems to me, that the last decade of my life has been like a bad rerun of “Ground Hog Day’.  Where Bill Murray, Andie McDowell and Rodney Dangerfield are still playing in an annual  ‘time warp’.


YES, in 2016 it is like a ‘relapse’ and ‘revert’ to the original ‘dot com’ days in the 90’s!

Digital Disruption, massive transformation and the consistent flow of  “traditional’, monolithic, slow moving, Fortune 500’s Leader Boards and Enterprises continue to become ‘insignificant’ and ‘retrograde’

These dated Organizations, or should I say, older ‘established’ companies with a rich history of representing the Fortune 500’s charts, simply JUST get ‘pushed out’ of business because they have all simply LOST their their VALUES, PASSION and PURPOSE.  

Importantly, the innovation, competition and rate of change today – continues to only get faster and accelerate exponentially. 

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PICTURE: Some recent research conducted by Richard Foster (“Creative Destruction Whips through Corporate America“) provides a great example of “creative destruction” in the US economy and stock market – the accelerating turnover in the S&P500 Index based on almost 100 years of data.  Note: The Standard & Poor’s 500

Here are some key recent findings (only accelerating faster today):

  1. US corporations in the S&P500 in 1958 remained in the index for an average of 61 years.  By 1980, the average tenure of an S&P500 firm was 25 years, and by 2011 that average shortened to 18 years based on seven year rolling averages. In other words, the churn rate of companies in the S&P500 has been accelerating over time (and today’s clock is even faster!)
  2. On average, an S&P 500 company is now being replaced about once every two weeks. (Even quicker than the average turnover rate of CMO’s today too!)
  3. At the current churn rate, 75%- 80% of the S&P 500 firms in 2011 will be replaced by new firms entering the S&P500 in 2027.
  4. In 2011, a total of 23 companies were removed from the S&P500, either due to declines in market value (for instance, Radio Shack’s stock no longer qualified as of June) or through an acquisition (for instance, National Semiconductor was bought by Texas Instruments, etc. etc.).

I have been saying for at least 15 plus years (basically since the earliest ‘dot com’ days and to many Multinational Branding/Advertising Agency Leaders and clients e.g. former and current) – startups, digital and real ‘visionaries’ with VALUES are the key focus and fastest way to future and ongoing success.


Today’s most progressive and innovative companies are now transforming the modern marketing and business world with VALUES, PASSION and PURPOSE.


With the partnerships, great business acumen, ‘brains’ and connections in tandem with: VC’s and Angels like:


Today’s Start-ups and Founders   simply don’t need  International Marketing Companies or Multinational Advertising Agencies today to be a global force, create change or create worldwide awareness.


Since, the ‘dot com’ days and the level of sophistication in San Francisco/Silicon Valley has been accelerating – todays BEST & BRIGHTEST have the most elite, educated, globally diverse, ‘socially aware’ and innovative brains in the business close,  and all on-board and integrated.


By that I mean, the entire structure in San Francisco and Silicon Valley (followed by New York City and Massachusetts) now has the SINGLE BEST AND MOST diversity of ‘top unicorn’ investors –  highlights the ascent of a new class of:  Hedge Fund, Mutual Fund, Investment Banks, VC’s, Angels and smart Corporate VC’s based in the area (US +Worldwide).

In fact, MOST intelligent private equity investors are clamoring to get into high flying tech companies today.

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Note: Featured Unicorn Image credit to Yosuke Muroya


The ‘unicorns’ and best tech co.’s all have very passionate AND compassionate founders that live by:  principles, have exceptional standards, and are all constantly looking to improve and strive for Mastery daily. Not resting on their ‘laurels’ or past successes!


Importantly, the best and boldest leaders today, all have a ‘WHY’ e.g. they strive harder and faster for loyalty, passion, commitment and momentum to turn an idea into a ‘BOLD SOCIAL MOVEMENT’  and build loyalty and commitment.  How do you and your company stack up today?


As an aside, I personally think a key reason Yahoo! is for sale today, and Marissa Mayer jumped into a very heavy, urgent and transformational ‘hot-spot’  in Yahoo’s digital transformation. E.g. Yahoo! is – she wasn’t the FOUNDER and didn’t have the WHY Yahoo! was originally started about. (circa 1994/95)

If you recall, it was first and foremost a ‘MOVEMENT’ in the beginning days BUT, simply lost their:  WHY, PURPOSE + PASSION.

Importantly, this seems to be true of other ‘legacy’ leaders today too!


I think after Jerry Yang  (Jerry Chih-Yuan Yang is a Taiwanese-born American internet entrepreneur, engineer, the co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo! Inc.) used to have all the PASSION, PURPOSE and SOUL but sadly,  left the company. And, the new Board, Investors and Management team lost the innovation, flexibility and VALUES of Yahoo! and sadly Jerry Yang.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 7.36.02 AM

Note: Jerry Chih-Yuan Yang is a Taiwanese-born American internet entrepreneur, engineer, the co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo! Inc.


Brands like: Uber, Airbnb, Tesla, Netflix, WhatsApp, Theranos and hundreds of others are ‘denting’ the planet, helping people, helping causes, saving people, time, animals, money, freeing resources, borrowing and dramatically ‘smashing’ the old school ‘usual suspects’ of long time Fortune 500 Leaders such as: General Electric, Exxon Mobil, US Steel, Gulf Oil, IBM, CBS, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Monsanto, etc.

This new breed of ‘start up’ or as I say, ‘movement’ has radically transformed over the last two decades as many of the other digitally oriented companies and brands joined the list over the last 10 years e.g. Netflix,, Expedia, Alphabet, Facebook, THERANOS, Snapchat, Slack, Stripe, Airbnb, Instacart, etc.

Importantly, Uber, Airbnb, Theranos and today’s leaders all know and understand to drive success today, you must have standards, constantly improve, strive for loyalty daily and INSPIRE your passionate fans and customers.

BELOW: Below is a list of the VC investors that have at least 3 billion dollar private unicorns, as well as the number they invested in at a Seed/Angel or Series A round (courtesy CB Insights)

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 6.46.11 AM

The common elements with this ‘new breed’ of innovators and visionaries is they all have highest values, all are constantly looking to improve, they all have higher standards and a desire to save time, save money, help people, support non-profits, do social good and in many cases, push equality, aid in climate change, advocate for Lesbian, gay, bi, trans gender. (LGBTI ) is the acronym that refers to a group of people with diverse sexual orientation, sex or gender identity. It includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and other sexuality, sex and gender non-conforming people, regardless of their term of self-identification.)

As well as: world poverty, #BlackLivesMatter, anti-fracking, clean oceans, NO GMO’s, Corruption in Kenya,  Save the Dolphins + Whales and far, far more.

Today’s youngish breed of Founders are all challenging the ‘status quo’ of the older, established tiers of the Fortune 500 Past Leader Board and are displacing hundreds of companies and enterprises annually now.

Additionally, todays founders/leaders –  usually offer beautiful designed products and services, very simple to use and extremely customer-centric,  with the utmost attention given to the customer experience.

Importantly, today’s innovators and leaders are constantly trying ‘daily’ to improve their products and services and BUILD loyalty.

The old school marketers and brands only focus on what they do and focus only on their own USP (unique selling proposition). Thus, neglecting their customers and clients.

Note: This is old school Mad Men Advertising Age days ‘reflux’ ! It’s too 1970’s and not about ‘Purpose ‘or ‘Passion’ like:  Apple, Red Bull or even GoPro today!

Bottom-line, today’s Founders and Start-ups all have a clear plan in place, as they all articulate WHY they do what the do.

AND, do so with FOCUS, PASSION and with a compelling URGENT manner.

BUT, I think the ‘old guard’ focus too much of their time, effort and resources –  basically just telling customers and clients WHAT they do and sell.

Sadly, that’s why my old Industry e.g. International Advertising and Branding Companies have slipped from the worldwide Board Level discussions and ended up becoming ‘production departments’ and ‘suppliers’  for the brightest client side marketing teams today.

In conclusion, International Advertising Agencies have unfortunately been pushing the former Fortune 500 Leader Board Elites too long with a ‘VISION’. This old school, Mad Men style of the 1940’s/1950’s marketing and advertising culture is simply not working today.

It breaks my heart to see some fabulous brands, companies, Industries, Groups and Events, once prominent and aspirational Industries,  having lost tremendous investment, goodwill, vision and purpose. BUT, if they get back to their original WHY and regain their PASSION, PURPOSE and COMMITMENT – they can flourish even longer.

It saddens me, most of the once iconic Multinational Advertising Agencies, The Music Industry, The Entertainment Industry and former Fortune 500 Top 50 have ALL missed the Northbound Train into the digital age, which left the ‘station’ in the mid 1990’s.

Now, many former Leaders on the Fortune 500, accompanied by their long term Advertising Agencies have been damaged, confused and lack the understand of why they originally got into business in the first place.

BUT, there is not a better time to innovate, change and INSPIRE your clients, customers, staff or partners than today.


As I always counsel my clients, partners and friends – to be successful in 2016 and beyond you must always innovate daily, be highly flexible, produce outstanding quality products/services, inspire your team, partners, suppliers, clients and have a CAUSE, PURPOSE, PASSION and VISION.


Please leave with this in mind and I hope you have continued success, you have an engaged life, live with purpose, inspire those around you and make everyday of your life MATTER.



Make your difference.




More about Geoff De Weaver:


Hailing from New York; Geoff De Weaver  is the globally experienced digital pioneer, entrepreneur, global marketer, technology disruptor, trend hunter, transformation expert, author, keynote speaker and CEO of Touchpoint Entertainment Inc.

Geoff is creating a ‘movement’ to inspire passionate people to ‘pay it forward’, have heart, integrity and focus on quality and standards. He also advocates:  LIVE WITH PASSION + PURPOSE.

Feel free to get in touch with Geoff for further information:


Also, if you enjoyed this article, please find these related articles:

  1. “Why US Fortune 500 Boards can’t ignore social media marketing & big data” by @geoff_deweaver on @LinkedIn
  2. “Why does Corporate America have so few female CEOs? “ by @geoff_deweaver on @LinkedIn

‘When Action Meets Passion and Compassion, Lives Change’ ~ Geoff De Weaver 



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