"I'm interested in discontinuities and interruptions, people having to rewrite the narrative of their lives because of sudden changes."
Toys R Us declared bankruptcy before Christmas. That surprised me since most retailers do at least 50% of their business during the holiday season. A closer review shows that they failed in one area no large retailer can overlook in today’s market: the Internet.
They weren’t selling enough products on their website. It meant that they couldn’t keep up with the demand of a consumer base that is doing more business online than any other place.
More people get their news off the World Wide Web than any other source today. Home Depot sells more appliances on their website than in their retail stores. Amazon, the online giant, is looking for a second headquarters. Cities all over the country are spending millions of dollars trying to make them move to their towns.
The internet has interrupted many businesses. When I first got into speaking professionally, it was "advised" that I have a professionally polished website. Today you can’t be a professional speaker or consultant without an online presence that shows your demo videos, topics, clients, blog posts and books.
The internet is just one way many companies have been “interrupted” and forced them to change or go out of business forever. What is interrupting your industry? Do you see that as a nuisance or an opportunity to reinvent yourself or your business?
You cannot reinvent
unless you are open to interruptions.
Dr. Joel Hunter recently stepped down as pastor of one of the largest churches in the nation – Northland Church in Longwood, Florida (near Orlando). He was interrupted by the 2016 Pulse Night Club shooting massacre, according to a message he delivered to his congregation early last year.
He said at that he realized that although he was Senior Pastor of the largest church in the city, he didn’t personally know any victims or their family members. This cut him to the heart and he felt a need to connect better and work in the community. He reinvented himself as a community speaker.
Changing technology causes interruptions, as with Toys R Us, Borders, Circuit City and automakers like Saturn and Oldsmobile. Competition interrupts companies by raising the bar so high they can’t compete or are bought out.
Examples are Abercrombie, Nextel, Netscape, Gateway and Compaq computers, Fox News (recently purchased by Disney, who also owns ABC and ESPN), and Steak and Ale restaurants.
Interruptions can come in the form of pride and mistakes in business.