Two Decades of Digital Disruption

Digital Disruption is everywhere. It is causing just about every business to adapt, adopt, or go bust. This didn’t start today. Let’s look at a timeline of events leading up to today.

1998-2008: A decade of foundations

  • 1998: Google makes information accessible: Two folks were working in a garage with an ambition to organize the world’s information and oh boy they succeeded. As Google became a phenomenon, it made information accessible.
  • 2004: Facebook enables power of people:What started as a quirky project, ended up catching fire in colleges, and eventually transformed the way people connected digitally. Facebook with the power of people inspired many connections and transformations. It introduced the concept of social in every product thereby allowing people to come together digitally.
  • 2006: Amazon launched cloud and lowers barriers to innovation: Amazon built something for its internal purpose then recognized just about anyone could use it and introduced the ability launch infrastructure, platforms, and other things needed to build software. Anyone who had dreams could build a software without a lot of money.
  • 2007: Apple launches iPhones; Mobile computing & connections ubiquitous: Apple launched iPhone and introduced mobile computing. It made connectivity ubiquitous. Almost everyone with a Smartphone is now connected to the Internet.
  • 2008: Apple launches App Store platform: Apple launched the App Store platform and made it easy for anyone to sell and reach people at scale.

The above chronology of events basically enabled Internet and People connectivity, made information accessible, reduced barriers to building new software, and made it easy to sell and reach people at scale. It is like telling any average Joe here are all the resources and all you have to do is use your creativity, imagination, and dreams to achieve it. It unleashed a decade of consumerization or disruption of the consumer industry.

2009-2019: A decade (almost) of disruption

  • 2009: Uber innovates with business and work model: The first business to rethink both the business model and working arrangement for a digital world. In addition, it also built a transformation business with no stack (no car, no software etc.)
  • 2010-2012: Consumer market disruption: The next few years unleashed a wave of consumer market disruption. Electronics, News, Weather, Travel, Messaging, Connections, Movies, and just about everything that was consumer related got disrupted.
  • 2013: Watson makes artificial intelligence mainstream: As the businesses gathered peta bytes worth of data about customers and found ways to use the insights, IBM with its Watson made Artificial Intelligence mainstream. From winning Jeopardy to enabling possibilities with data, this area is just getting started.
  • 2014: Google introduces driverless cars: Out of nowhere, Google introduced the prototype of a driverless car. It used Google Maps, Sensors, Hardware and Software combination to create something that performed better than humans at driving.
  • 2015: Internet of Things Explosion: As hardware and software started coming together in new ways, every device started becoming “smart”. Thermostats, watches, fitness, security alarms, locks, and even what you wear everyday. This is just getting started.
  • 2016-2019: Consumerization of Enterprise: The consumer experiences and disruptions are eventually beginning to catch up with the Enterprise. Enterprises will eventually upgrade the platforms, infrastructure, processes for this new digital world.
  • 2016-2019: Strategy for a digital world: Almost every business is undertaking a digital transformation pulling together a strategy for the digital world.
  • 2016-2019: Industrial Revolution: After Consumer and Enterprise, the next thing to get disrupted is the Industrial Businesses.

Unlike the first decade which as formative, the current decade is acceleration unlimited. It is a tsunami of sorts with consumer, enterprise, and industrial revolution all happening at once as well as more disruptive technologies coming at us with a pace never imagined before.

The big question then is, how do you thrive in this?

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