Every industry has its sacred cows and accepted practices. These are based upon foundational beliefs, and often those beliefs are based upon premises that are no longer valid. (If they ever even were.)
Mobile apps won’t just change marketing, they will change everything. The reason these apps (and other new business models) can be so disruptive is because they’re often created by people who aren’t from the industries they’re disrupting.
There is a reason Amazon was started by Jeff Bezos and not anyone in the bookstore industry, and Uber was started by people who weren’t in the taxi industry. Because they were not in those industries, these pioneers hadn’t bought into all the limiting conventional beliefs possessed by most decision makers in the space.
I’m sure lots of people in the taxi industry thought about using GPS systems to route drivers to fares. But because they were stuck in the herd thinking of their industry, they probably threw out the idea as too expensive or not feasible. They were vested in their system of dispatchers, radios and because they had a monopoly, and felt no urgency to test other models. But the free market blew them up.
Human nature seems to have a default setting about innovation. Anything in existence when you were born (no matter how stunning of a quantum advancement it was), just seems ordinary and natural to you. Anything new developed when you’re in your teens and twenties is breathtaking and revolutionary and you’re excited to be a part of it. And anything developed after you’re 40 is irritating and evil, because it prevents you from going back to the way things were.
Bookstores thought people would never buy books online and record companies thought they could ban music downloads. But you can never turn back the clock.
I love a good bookstore as much as anyone, but I still order most of my books from Amazon. I actually still have the original Dark Side of the Moon and some other classic LP albums. But 99 percent of my music is on my iPhone.
This is not a cautionary tale of the taxi industry, the bookstore business or record companies…
It’s a wake up call for every industry. Taxi companies won’t beat back ride sharing apps because they provide great value to consumers and achieved immediate acceptance. Other industries won’t defeat disruption in their space because disruption is intrinsically pro-consumer. It only works if the marketplace accepts it, and the marketplace only accepts it if it is doing something better, faster or cheaper. Or all three.
If you’re in a business trying to restrict or outlaw an app or business model that threatens you, you’re already a dinosaur. You’d be better served to be working on developing a better app.
Market destruction is tough when you’re the collateral damage. But that’s the way free enterprise works, and free enterprise is the only way to keep an economy vibrant. It’s not about the destruction, but rather, the ultimate creation that comes from it.
Randy is the author of nine international bestsellers on success, including, Risky Is the New Safe. He’s currently on sabbatical, writing his next book, but posts occasionally here. If you find these postcards helpful, please share them.
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