We hear it regularly. Companies that have been around for many years are closing their doors. Reactions to this news can vary from blaming the economy to blaming other countries, but often we hear statements like: “It’s Amazon’s fault, they are taking over everything” or “it’s technology’s fault and people will soon be replaced by robots.”

Amazon has gobbled up a number of businesses, it’s true, and the use of technology has impacted many businesses as well. There is an element of truth to both of the statements above and at the same time, there is a big piece missing. It’s not about what is replacing businesses, the issue is with the businesses themselves.

Amazon didn’t kill retail. Retail killed retail. Whether a company survives/thrives or fails when new technology is introduced is not because of new technology, it is because of the company’s need and willingness to evolve. Blockbuster didn’t survive against Netflix because they refused to change their business model. Years later, Netflix recognized that streaming technology can overtake their movie by mail business and quickly adapted. Netflix continues to evolve and thrive.

Companies that offer a unique service that cannot be easily replaced, survive. Live theater (Broadway shows), concerts, etc. are still around because they are a unique experience that can’t be experienced the same way through technology.

Movie theaters struggle because picture and sound quality experienced in movie theaters are now available for home use. To survive, some are now offering luxury experience with reclining chairs, etc. We will see if they survive.

Most malls are just a collection of stores. We can purchase anything online, so unless malls offer some kind of unique experience, they will probably not survive.

This applies to individuals as well as companies. Apply this to your own career. How can technology improve the services you provide? What services do you offer that provide a unique experience? What new services can you offer once technology takes the non-value added services from you?

Don’t be afraid of the technology! Don’t blame technology. Learn from those companies and people that cannot adapt. Evolve with the technology and thrive!!


Photo Credits: Pixabay

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