Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Duck Duck Go

When an organization conducts external environment analysis for strategy planning, political factors often get buried in the pile of other more important factors like trends in the economy or changes in technology.  With the recent outcry for online privacy, precipitated by NSA’s PRISM leaks and Edward Snowden’s disclosure of classified documents, small startups like Duck Duck Go find themselves in a favorable strategic position. [1]
Landing Page of Duck Duck Go

Founded in 2008, Duck Duck Go is a small Pennsylvanian start up that offers a search engine that does not track cookies nor records IP addresses. Unlike Google, Duck Duck Go prides itself in respecting the online privacy of search engine users. While the organization started well in advance of the changing political climate in regards to government surveillance, the start up’s strategy is beginning to appeal to many. Duck Duck Go reports that there has been more than a 50% increase in searches between the months before Snowden’s leaks and after in 2013. There were 54.4 million requests before the Snowden leaks and about 105.6 million requests after. [2]

With the ongoing concerns about government surveillance and online privacy rights, it will be interesting to see the growth of this small organization. In 2011, Duck Duck Go managed to raise $3 Million. It wouldn’t be surprising to see investors backing this rather unique organization more so in light of the recent political factors. [3]

But how much can Duck Duck Go rely on political factors in making strides? How much weight do organizations place in all the factors falling under external environment analysis? Do we weigh economic factors more? Or hedge our bets with transformative technology? Do these decisions differ among the types of organizations (startups versus established for-profit organizations)? 

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