How Quickly Things Change

If you have never seen the “Blockbuster Offers a Glimpse of Movie Renting Past”, it is a great (and funny) piece that promotes some great conversations on how quickly things can become obsolete:

It is a great video to discuss how quickly things change in our world today. Although this was “best practice” only a few years ago, it is already outdated and the company closed the last of it’s stores in 2014.

I wrote about this specifically in “The Innovator’s Mindset“;

It was only a few years ago that video rental stores like Blockbuster were the best way
for people to watch movies in the comfort of their own home. In some places around the world, these stores still exist. But in the Western world, cheaper and more convenient options (no travel required) have put most neighborhood video stores out of business.

The Internet completely changed the movie rental industry. Companies that took advantage of new technology, like Netflix with its DVD-by-mail and online streaming options, are thriving. Meanwhile, companies, like Blockbuster, that refuse to let go of outdated business models experience a slow, painful death.

Blockbuster had the opportunity to buy Netflix a few times, but declined. And by the time it attempted to start its own DVD-by-mail program, the company had lost its place as an industry leader. The hard lesson that Blockbuster and its fellow neighborhood movie rental
businesses failed to heed is this: innovate or die.

This reality hit me hard recently at a parent evening the other night when I shared this video. As parents and adults in the room laughed, I noticed one child who was probably around eight or nine years old, looking around and wondering what was going on.  After the video played, I asked him if he could talk about what was going on and he had no clue.  When I tried to explain about going to a store to rent movies, he looked at me like I was crazy.  He had never known this reality, and never would, yet this was our reality, not his.  If he was four, it would make more sense, but he wasn’t.

I often think about what we will be laughing at or shaking our head at ten or twenty years from now, but if we do not understand that we need to change, maybe we won’t have the chance to laugh at all.  You either create change, or change will happen to you.  In all other industries, different and better options are either being offered by current organizations, or by new ones coming in.  We should never take for granted the continuous need for all organizations to get better.  Education not excluded.