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StrategyDec 01, 2015

Shop.org – Day 1 Highlight – Exponential Organizations

Justin Bell

Outside of seeing some friends and clients, the highlight of day 1 of Shop.org Digital Summit was a keynote presentation by Salim Ismail.  I’ve been reading his book, Exponential Organizations, and he did a great job presenting the key themes in a compelling and humorous way.

My main takeaway is that any company, almost regardless of industry, cannot ignore the extremely rapid changes that improvements in technology are bringing.

Salim gives many great examples of how traditional, “material” businesses are being completely disrupted by innovators that leverage technology and a scalable organization.  Here are some of the examples:

  • Photography / film industry and the impact of going digital

  • AirBNB now has more rooms available and a higher valuation than the world’s largest hotel chains

  • Uber has completely disrupted the Taxi / Transportation business

  • Blockbuster was destroyed by Netflix and streaming / on-demand

  • Drones for delivery

  • Oil & Gas will be challenged considerably by the rapidly decreasing cost of delivering solar energy

He had a great line that says “Any company designed for success in the 20th century is doomed for failure in the 21st.”.  This is supported by the data point that corporate lifespans are shrinking considerably.  In fact, the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company has decreased from 67 years (1920s) to 15 years (now).

This really made me think, what changes in technology could completely disrupt the businesses I work with and how can they leverage their assets to take advantage of that opportunity.