Disruption is a Euphemism for Extinction


Dinosaurs are a great example for companies worried about being disrupted. There have been 5 mass extinctions in the history of our planet. In between them there have been many extinction of species during ice ages and other changes in Earth’s history. During these extinctions any species of a certain size usually die out. Many large animals are built to last extreme changes but not necessarily the rapid ones. In the last mass extinction all the dinosaurs that were 50 pounds or less survived. Everything bigger than that died out. The smallest ones needed less resources to survive. When it’s winter, bigger is better. In a period of rapid changes smaller is better.

Companies today are facing an extinction level situation. They’re looking at the recessionary slump and preparing for the long, cold, dry spell. They have seen changes in the landscape before – But this is different. The rate of change has increased at such a rapid rate that the resources needed to sustain these giant beasts of industry is dwindling. In sectors like Publishing, Journalism, & Entertainment, the old hulking sources of revenues aren’t quite enough to feed their large profit margins and their massive overheads. While a million dollars to the NY Times wouldn’t last a month – to a digital publication of 4 people that’s a huge windfall.

The cost of production is falling in many industries and with it the revenues they garner. Advertising is cheapening, expensive services have cheaper versions, consumers have more choice. The Internet is like a giant asteroid that has damaged the ecosystem of “Business as usual”. Right now is the perfect time for small businesses and startups to carve out a niche until the dust settles. Eventually more companies will adapt to the rapid change and new sources of revenue. More companies will grow to scale. But right now is not the time to grow big and bloated, now is the time to adapt.

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