This Internet thing has been central to our life and business since 1996. A long, long time ago (in technology years), in a land far, far away (the High Desert of Northern Los Angeles County). We were the proprietors of a business within an industry that was not only about to disrupt everything but, would become a disruptor unto itself. One of the largest communications retailers in Southern California, specializing in Pagers and Cell Phones. There was a word hitting the seen "Internet", it appeared nobody really understood what it did. Terms like "Browser Wars" were circulating in our conversations. Because our company had a very large Business to Business sales department, we had to investigate. By 1997, our company had a dynamic ISP that offered service at a breakneck speed of 56Kbps, the latest and greatest technology for reading web pages.
Based on the knowledge of the technology in 1997, it was very hard for most people to absorb the rumors of the coming technologies, deemed Broadband. The idea that Video would be able to play over an Internet connection was amazing. Most people were just becoming familiar with the idea of AOL Instant Messenger. Paying a monthly subscription to take part in Chat Rooms or message a person and chat no matter where they were located. It was only a few years and the idea of a Private, Local ISP was completely cumbersome.
For several small ISP's this was the end. Fortunately our business model had a very resilient Business to Business component and Mobile Data was becoming a buzz with our business clients. This opened an avenue for expanded services building a Web Presence and consulting on the benefits of Mobile Data and communications.
By 2004 the consulting side of our business model exceeded the other services. Social Media was on the rise and most businesses, tradespeople and professionals were ignoring it. It was discussed that major brands and companies were beginning to set aside a reasonable portion of their budget to make inroads into these "Viral", "Web 2.0" platforms.
Our reputation became known for working with Brands within Social Platforms and we soon took a Partnership with a Firm as "Alternative Marketing Specialists". We were basically the odd balls who understood and could explain the new terminologies and add 20% to 30% to the bottom line. The Firm was giving advise it wasn't following, using a very disruptive concept while remaining stuck in an antiquated business model.
As developers, designers and conceptual thinkers, Apple was central to our culture. On January 9th, 2007, Steve Jobs, walked on stage and announced, "Today is a day I have been looking forward to for two and a half years." We had heard about it, we had even discussed the upcoming platform in settings with clients. Yet, what happened was a disruption of epic proportions. To such a degree that this technology, that technology began a time when Disruption would be the constant. It is today, it will be more so tomorrow.
The Age of Disruption
Today, the advantages of a strong, engaged social media audience has become self evident to most. Though the methodology of converting that audience continues to change. There is no reason to think the constant changes and disruptions will ever slow. If anything, reasonable minds agree, the change will continue to accelerate. The only question that remains is: Where do you fit into this? Will you be the Disruptor, the Hacker? Will you innovate, create and rise to the top? Will you follow the Status-Quo and fade through disruption?