There is something going on that will increasingly complicate the lives of the analysts, investors, regulators, and lawyers whose lives depend on a tidy classification of companies by industry.
As the research in my upcoming book indicates, the most competitive companies today do not try to fit themselves into standard industry lines. They know exactly who they are and what they are good at, but these things are no longer dictated by standard industry codes set by the Interpretations Committee (SIC).
Is Google an advertising, software, online-service, payments, or mobile phone business? Is Apple a computer, software, design, or digital entertainment company?
Last week in Boston, I visited a company that precisely illustrates this trend. MaidPro runs one of the U.S.’s largest maid service franchises. Its more than 100 franchisees run independent businesses composed of teams of maids who travel to clean clients’ homes. They currently conduct more than a half-million cleanings per year and generate nearly $50M in revenue.