Every industry has its game changers. The moments when someone springs an entirely new product on the market that completely changes consumer expectations and the competitive landscape. The digital world has brought numerous game changers that have impacted many industries. Think downloadable music. Cell phones. CNN, then Fox News. The DVR. MySpace. YouTube. The iPhone.
The question is…are you paying attention to noticing the game changes in your business? Music companies didn’t understand the true threat of downloadable music at first, and when they did, they fruitlessly tried to battle it instead of embracing it and making it part of their business plan. Newspapers kept their heads in the sand about the internet until they’d lost hundreds of millions of dollars in classified advertising to the web. Readers who wanted information on demand abandoned newspapers in droves, and young people never embraced newspapers at all. The newspaper industry is a shadow of what it once was. Television broadcasters allowed cable to grow on the strength of network and local programming that stations gave to the cable companies for free.
I remember when Apple first released the iPod that could play video. This was years before the ability to easily view video on the web. Before YouTube or Facebook. I went to the Apple store with my husband and daughter to check it out. Traditional media people had been dismissing the product. The sniffed, “Who would want to watch video on a tiny little screen?”
I watched the demo in the store. I held it in my hands. It was light and sleek. The little screen had incredible quality. It was completely cool; a breakthrough product. I felt as though the ground shook beneath me. I looked up and announced, “This changes everything.” And it did. Once people understood that they could have movies and video entertainment of their choosing when they wanted, it paved the way for the growth of online video.
The trick is to identify a game changer before it overtakes you. A game changer can be a small thing at first. It’s always the events that are occurring right now that pave the way ahead. This is true in your own career and personal life too. Are you listening and watching?
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