Monday, June 3, 2013

Digital Disruption: You Can't Move Too Fast!

Digital Disruption lesson #3: You cannot move too fast. This is the third posting in a five part series on Digital Disruption.

The world’s economy grew from embryonic nothingness at the dawn of civilization to a global output of $4 trillion by 1950. In the next 35 years (1950 to 1985) it grew to $16 trillion. In the ten years from 1985 to 1995 it grew another $4 trillion - the same amount as it grew from its inception to 1950.

You’ve heard of Moore’s law; that computing power (number of transistors on integrated circuits) doubles every 18 months, but have you heard of the storage law that says we double the capacity of storage at the same cost every 12 months, or the law of fiber that says the bandwidth capacity of fiber doubles every nine months.

Between the birth of the world and 2003, there were five exabytes of information created. Today, we create five exabytes every two days. More than 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month. More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days, than the 3 major U.S. TV networks created in the last 60 years.

In other words, there’s exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Computer speed (per unit cost) doubled every three years between 1910 and 1950, doubled every two years between 1950 and 1966, and is now doubling every year.

Do not fear change, growth, acceleration, or the changing growth of acceleration as these are not futuristic boogeymen to be avoided, these are the conditions in which we now live. If we are going to survive and prosper in today’s reality, we have to embrace change, and the pace of change.

Digital Disruption lesson #3: You cannot move too fast.

By this I mean, do not be afraid that your next idea is too far “out there”; if you can find a way to implement the idea, then go for it. For if you wait, the market, the competitors, and your customers will pass you by.

This is not a license to be stupid, or to move without thinking, rather it is an acknowledgement that self-restraint is not an advantage when attracting new markets, business, or customers. Surely, one must have principles and governance relative to quality, integrity, and judgement, but the notion that “the market is not ready,” “we’re ahead of our customers,” or “our partners can’t keep up.” is folly.

If you have an idea to improve customer service, employee engagement, or shareholder value; what are you waiting for?

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