The Disruptors and the Disrupted

You know that online technologies are turning whole industries upside down. Think Uber vs. the taxi industry, or Airbnb vs. hotels. But has anybody assembled a comprehensive look at the new platforms and what are threatened by platform technologies?

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review concludes that the companies susceptible to disruption by online platforms are not manufacturing enterprises like General Motors or Coca Cola. They tend to be matchmaker businesses that connect different groups of customers.

The article lists online platforms that are threatening traditional businesses. Oddly enough, the list doesn’t mention how Apple’s iTunes platform has basically eliminated the music/CD industry, but it does say that Alphabet (Google), Yahoo! and Facebook, with their ad-supported search capabilities, are disrupting advertising-supported media like magazines. Amazon, meanwhile, is disrupting shopping malls and department stores. Uber threatens the taxi and limousine companies, while Snapchat threatens traditional communications.

The conclusion? Any business whose value comes from serving as an intermediary between manufacturers or service providers and customers has a target on its back.

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