Sunday, 22 January 2012

'People will always need...'

Pic by Nico Ordozgoiti

You get some really funny ideas in the shower.

I started thinking about Kodak, and it's sad fall from grace, largely caused by it's inability to be able to pivot quickly enough, and embrace the digital age.

A previously unassailable brand titan, brought down to earth by a variety of factors.

But the one reason that I was thinking about was the one sentence that we all use in our everyday lives without really thinking about it's relevance: 'People will always need *insert item here*'

I'm sure we all heard people use that phrase for a variety of reasons. It's probably not given you an cause for concern - or them. But it's a very dangerous sentence.

It's the same kind of thinking that got the musc industry into so much trouble. After all, people will always need CDs, won't they? They'll always want physical products.

People will always need DVD's, won't they? After all, it's the experience of holding onto that little shiny plastic cover that we'll always cherish.

Let's get one thing straight: the only things we are hot-wired to do as people is to survive, socialise, and maintain relationships.

Businesses saw the internet, and assumed that they could apply the same principles to it as they could to the 'real' world of cash registers, queues and physical products. They should have seen the fall coming.

The internet has enabled disruption of previously unassailable markets. It has changed the landscape, and it has been responsible for innovations and developments in technology, business and freedom that were previously unheard of.

For every Kodak, there is an Instagram. For every HMV, there is an iTunes. For every iTunes, there is a Spotify. For every netbook, there's a tablet. For every Myspace, there's a Facebook. For every Facebook, there's a... Well, who knows?

Never assume that people will always want, or even need your product or idea. Be prepared to change, pivot and remain agile.

If you don't, you will end up going the way of the dinosaurs, or the Gutenberg press - fantastic to look at, but ultimately museum-bound.

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