Are you a Buggy Whip or a Buggy Chain?

“Buggy Whip” is an analogy that’s used to describe a technology that’s become obsolete in the face of a newer technology. Whips that were slung at buggy horses so that they would move faster were no longer needed when automobiles came on the scene.

But here where I live in Trumansburg, NY, there was a company called Morse Chain that was founded around 1890. They invented, patented, and produced rocker joint chains for bikes and buggies. And when the automobile came on the scene, the company adapted and used their capabilities to make chains for automobiles establishing an auto chain plant in nearby Ithaca in 1906. As you can imagine, the company grew exponentially. In the next ten years, the auto chain factory quadrupled in size. In years following, spinout factories were formed for airplanes and cash registers and clocks. And in 1929, Morse Chain joined the newly formed BorgWarner corporation. Today BorgWarner has 60 manufacturing facilities across 18 countries.

What’s the lesson here? When a new technology comes on the scene that feels threatening to your technology, take some time to think about whether you die like the buggy whips or evolve like the buggy chains.

Take it further:

Morse TEC timeline

BorgWarner on wiki

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