Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

More glimpses that disruptive change is already here – (radical change #4)

The disruptive change around us is staggering. Yet I don’t see how it will disrupt my business, which is the auditing sector of public accounting. Before I get into that, here are a few more articles on the change going on around us.

Just in case you are wondering what digital disruption looks like, check out this graph of newspaper ad revenue for the last 65 years, adjusted for inflation:

newspaper ad revenue 5-15

(Copyright Carpe Diem, used with permission.)

4/30 – Carpe Diem – Creative destruction: Newspaper ad revenue continued its precipitous free fall in 2014, and it’s likely to continue – Above graph is from this article, which points out that print advertising has dropped 57% in six years and is down 75% from the 2000 high 14 years ago.

Adding back digital advertising puts the volume of advertising essentially at the same level as in 1950 when adjusted for inflation. Phrased differently, it took 50 years to go from $20B to $67B and merely 14 years to lose all that growth.

More examples:

5/4 – Wall Street Journal – The New Bookkeeper is a Robot – Pilot Travel Centers operates 500 truck stops across the country.

If you’ve never been in one of their stores, picture a miniature grocery store, hardware store, electronics and music shop, locker room with showers, and huge gas station all available at one stop. Oh, there are usually one or two attached restaurants.

They have increased the number stores from 300 to 500 in five years while at the same time reducing the number of clerks in the accounts payable department from 80 to 10. They automated bill processing and bill paying to gain those efficiencies.

Article points out that is a general trend. A sampling of the 2000 largest companies in the world shows the number of full-time finance employees has dropped from just under 120 per billion dollars of sales back in 2004 to the mid-80s in 2009, and is 71.26 staff per billion in 2014. That is a drop of about 40% in a decade.

Article points out this trend is showing up in the number of staff in information-technology and human-resource departments as well.

Are you going to be disrupted?

4/14 – Daniel Burrus at LinkedIn – Anticipating Digital Disruption – here is a poor summary of the article:

  • Either Borders or Barnes & Noble could have invented Amazon.
  • A taxi company could have invented Uber.

They didn’t because they were too focused on hitting their quarterly targets and defending the existing business model. The same concept applies to Kodak and Polaroid. They were so intent on defending their existing business models that they went out of business.

The same thing applies in many other industries. Digital disruption is going to overturn many companies in a huge number of industries.

The million dollar question:  What digital disruption is about to overwhelm you?

You need to look for outside what you’re doing now to figure out the answer to that question. You need to work really hard to be the innovator and disruptor instead of being the disrupted.

Previous posts in this series:

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