The billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, was asked what aspects of American life he expected to see changed due to the 2020 pandemic. Mark said, “Everything.”
The reality is that when tanks came on the scene, the cavalry became obsolete. In World War I, the British used tanks to beat the Germans. In 1940, the Germans built a better tank. The Russians designed an even better tank to beat the Germans. Technology will continue to disrupt our plans. Look at General Motors, Blockbuster Videos, Smith Corona typewriters, BlackBerry phones, and many more companies that have been victims of these disruptions.
Technological changes are happening at an even faster pace. 2020 was the tipping point. 2021 to 2030 will record a technology carnage that humankind has never seen before. Take a picture of all the electronic gadgets that you are using today. They will all look slower and uglier in the next decade. Yet leaders are still not realizing the full scope of 5G, the internet of things, and voice-enabled technology that is about to hit us.
Those who do not understand the online subscription model will get wiped out as content providers.
Education, entertainment, and experience are the three legs to a stool that is about to be battered by a tsunami of changes. Every content provider is about to be rocked by Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), in the first five years, and Virtual Reality (V.R.) in the next five years.
Universities, schools, and educational institutions should brace themselves for dramatic changes in consumer behavior. Content will be available on-demand, frictionless, and interactive with A.I., creating an experience bubble based on individuals’ preferences.
My elder daughter works in the field of computer science and is a Machine Learning Algorithm Developer. She, along with many other professionals, volunteers with Mukti Volunteer Village (a registered Canadian charity started by my family). We have Salesforce developers and Learning Management System experts working together to ensure that an online education platform will provide free education to children around the world.
When we went from radio to television, we tried to create television programs just like radio. We tried to copy the old style on a new medium. Location based content providers are going to struggle to grasp the new reality. Their past success will get in the way.
The largest transportation company did not come up with the idea of Uber. The traditional taxi system started to crumble when Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp founded Uber. It is hard to believe that a software app in San Francisco would allow driver recruitment and customers to order car rides online. By November 2015, Uber was valued at $70 billion USD and had spread to over 250 cities worldwide.
Successful hotels like Hyatt and Marriot did not feel the need to introduce Airbnb. Retailers like Kmart or Walmart did not feel the necessity to experiment with online shopping. Yet Amazon survived the dot-com bubble burst by becoming a dominant player in online shopping.
Restaurants started to change the way they were serving the customers. Starbucks launched its mobile app in 2015. McDonald’s started rolling out ordering kiosks in 2016.
The banking sector also experienced change. In 2015, Atom Bank received its banking license in the UK. This digital-only bank launched a mobile app. The bank had no physical branches or bank tellers. It was a step away from traditional brick-and-mortar banking. Atom Bank was using the Google cloud platform to keep pace with its growth. By 2017, it became the most preferred bank in the UK. The first “mobile-only bank” was the Uber of banking.
We were getting clear signals before the pandemic. Some leaders chose to ignore these signs. The irony is that many successful organizations do not feel the need to bend the curve. We should have been noticing what others were already doing. We chose not to.