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No such thing as a sure thing

No such thing as a sure thing? Well, one thing is certain there is dramatic evidence of change permeating through some of our most venerable institutions.

The plight of newspapers – and print media in general – has been given a thorough going over.

Then there’s the Post Office. Whether or not they follow through on their plan to eliminate Saturday delivery (or just cut home delivery one day) remains to be seen. Nevertheless, like newspapers, largely because of FedEx, UPS and online communication, the USPS is facing some fundamental challenges to its normal way of doing business and its long-term survival.

Might as well add the phone company to that list also. For one thing, most companies have already eliminated their fax capabilities. Also, not only are people dropping their land lines like their contaminated, present-day home builders won’t install a phone line unless specifically requested to do so. Add in the loss of Yellow Pages advertising revenue and competition for data transfer hardware, and the phone company is facing challenges just as daunting as those confronting print media and the Post Office.

The list goes on. Live streaming franchises are changing the way(s) we consume television programming. The term “binge watching” didn’t exist 6-8 years ago, now most everyone you meet has to confess to having done it at some point. With chains like Blockbuster all but dead and buried, this raises the question of what will happen to the cable industry? If you’re wise enough to slay that dragon, you can then take on the future of local broadcast TV.

Think about what LinkedIn has done to world of the job search… and corporate recruiters… as well as anything and everything that has to do with hiring and firing. This isn’t new. The world of work has been changing for decades with the colossal influx of women that began as far back as World War II. There has been an explosion of flex time and the advent of tens of thousands of people working from home. What’s next? If anyone asks, we’re working on it.

The other elephant in the room (and this room is getting crowded with all these elephants) is the world of retail. What hath Amazon wrought? Let’s start with the demise of bricks and motar retail locations. With the lone exception of Barnes & Noble, the bookstore has become a virtual dinosaur and stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond and Best Buy are trimming their numbers of outlets… but Zappos is booming.

Shop at home. Work from home. You’d better like your house. And if you don’t there is always Zillow.

The world is changing. And it’s changing faster and in ways that no one has imagined – or can predict. How we all deal with these changes will determine how – and if – we survive.

Jim Tabaczynski JPT Group

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