The principle of technology disruption, or what I prefer to describe more explicitly as death by Moore’s law, is not just catchy headlines. It’s real, it’s ongoing, and it’s still vastly misunderstood. In 2017, I was teasing executives attending my trainings or keynotes on innovation with this simple question: “When will the next Star Wars be shot on iPhone?“.

It’s now 2020, and since a few weeks ago, all new iPhone 12 are now capable of shooting video in Dolby Vision, while the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max even allow for 60 fps recording.

So yes, this is beyond amazing, but past the obvious fact that I’m always right (and yes, I *know* it’s annoying), what should be the wake-up call for you?

While you might not be involved in movie or media production, it’s pretty easy to assess if your company will be a victim of death by Moore’s law. The symptoms are always very consistent:

  • Not this decade –> Believing that you still have a lot of time before the exact technologies you depend on will become dirt cheap and be directly accessible to new entrants and eventually now by your customers.
  • Not our market –> Failing to monitor and understand that tangential new technologies arriving in different value chains will be on a collision course with yours.
  • Not our product –> Trusting that your customers want to buy the same product or form factor you’ve been delivering to them while not seeing that the problem is now starting to be solved efficiently and cheaply by someone else.

And again, the iPhone might not speak directly to you. But it is a convenient and regular reminder of how so many industries underestimated and miscalculated the transformational impact of a single object packing dozens of disruptive technologies.

And while shooting TV or movies with iPhones is now a done deal (don’t be mistaken because it will still take a few years for incumbents to cave in and switch to panic mode, while every single new entrant in media production will have been at it, developing new skills and building value) what about you?

  • How are you doing in the healthcare market while more and more self-diagnosis technologies are seeping in?
  • How do you see your future building cars while the mobility market reorganizes connected, on-demand solutions?
  • How are your relationships with customers applying for a mortgage at your bank, while almost every online retail business holds more information on them than you ever had?

Shall I go on? Need we address the elephant in the travel industry room? Probably not; you got my point.

On top of the usual natural causes of technology disruption, we face the brutal reconfiguration that the Covid-19 crisis is forcing on our global economies. I want to think that the simple fact that your teams transitioned to remote working within a few weeks should make you pause. Years and sometimes millions spent on “digital transformation” with rock-star consulting groups have probably amounted to nothing much. Until you had to face a global pandemic as a business and, more than anything, had to rely on your employees having Netflix at home, meaning dirt cheap always-on broadband access in their new improvised kitchen office.

Remember, look back at your core offer, and reassess. While not getting disrupted by Moore’s law is culturally immensely challenging for a corporation, it’s also the most avoidable form of business obsolescence possible.

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