Data and information have an expiration date – the information you collected last year, and in some industries, last quarter, is old.  The main reason: competition is changing rapidly.  Technology is shifting power to the consumer and consumers are becoming very comfortable using their fingers and thumbs because they like being in charge.  Before you read on, reset your definition of competition.  Competition is not necessarily dressed in the same clothes as you.  Competition comes in any form that delivers the same ultimate benefit.  (In essence, don’t be focused on who is building a better mousetrap, watch for who is training a meaner cat.)

Competition, in whatever format it knocks, comes when technology is less scary, or when consumers see the benefits of achieving success a different way.

Here is a quick example from the financial industry.  Some of you may now be using Venmo or Google Wallet.  There are so many ways to send cash using an app that there is an app to rate them –twelve different tools made the list. 

Ask yourself this:  what service have you used, or what transaction method have you used, or what new app have you used for the first time in the past six months?  I am guessing that you can think of something.  Or, maybe you tried it before unsuccessfully but now you are more comfortable with the technology or now you trust the provider.  Maybe you are not an early adopter but now everyone is doing it so you need to keep pace.

The motivation for change may come from a variety of frustrations; however, the result is that you are probably doing things differently.  And when society reaches the tipping point, when it is not novel any more, this new “accepted way” to do things will be hugely disruptive to the market. 

So get ready. Your job is to figure out how your industry will be urberized.

This leads to another question to ask yourself:  what systems do you have in place to watch the trends in your industry and other industries.  I was just at a conference about marketing and research trends and the main theme was that the disruptors to your industry that will cause the most pain, and will sneak up on you, and are probably not in your industry (as you define it today).

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