Dave Allen

Brian Solis on Digital Darwinism

posted by , 2 Comments

[Update 10/2/11: Brian Solis released a trailer (his words) for his book, The End Of Business As Usual, today. In it you will see a litany of failed businesses going back to Circuit City, including Blockbuster and as current as the closing of the News of the World. They make for compelling video images but they don't bolster an argument for the "end of business." In fact the News of the World closed because News International decided it must close to try and head off a phone-tapping scandal, a criminal enterprise in other words. A quick Google search for "why did Circuit City fail?" shows that they made some really bad business decisions, not least when they stopped carrying large appliances. I'm not sure how those last two examples prove those companies "failed" because of the way people now access information on the web..]

Perhaps Solis’ book should be called ‘The End of Some Businesses.’ Anyway here’s my original rebuttal post.

“The reality is that we live and compete in a perpetual era of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt.” So says Brian Solis in his post about the end of business as usual.

I don’t quite understand that sentence. Here’s why. Technologists are tinkering every minute of the day to improve upon existing models, whether it be in product design or technology. They can release their work as a Minimum Viable Product and then test and analyse to improve the product based upon their findings of how people use it. Technologists and the people who use their products are all part of society.

How then can “society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt?” That sounds like an impossibility to me. We, and those who work at brands, are society and as Brian is discussing social and business on the Web, then he must know that we, who are members of society by default, are the Web.

Meanwhile someone needs to publish a book about Digital Darwinism as a Wikipedia search brings back zero results.

Brian’s post features this Venn diagram with the title “measuring the impact of emerging vs disruptive technology.” Again, I don’t get it. We do know that the Internet is and has been incredibly disruptive but is Brian saying emerging technology is disruptive or is he saying that disruptive technology is emerging? And what does his “core impact” statement in the centre of the diagram explain? Are the “consumers, business, products” in the diagram disrupting or being disrupted? How are they impacted?

Brian Solis, North, Social Media

I think it should look like this..

Dave Allen, North, Social Media

..where desire reflects our human wants and needs from a product standpoint, either digital or analog. Where feasible means can it be done with existing technology on existing platforms, or on existing manufacturing machines that produce finished goods, and where viable means there is organizational support resulting in an actual human fulfillment – in other words, the answer to “What problem does it solve? Or how, when, where, why will they use it?”

If all the above can be achieved then we may well reach a state where we will have created an innovative and valuable community product or model. In doing so we will not have to worry about “the end of business as usual” as businesses who embrace this model for “doing business” might well discover that they are thriving because they considered their customers first.

The social web demands nothing less.

Comments

  • http://www.north.com/author/dave-allen/ Dave Allen

    Jason,

    I couldn’t agree more. Out of the gate though, this one had me a little confused. I think the sentiment can be accurate but the thinking behind Brian’s contention re “The End of Business As Usual” needs a better explanation. His Venn diagram for instance, becomes more meaningless the more I stare at it. The “trailer” for the book is also confusing as it mentions companies that didn’t actually suffer from Internet disruption.

    I remain confused! Thanks for your comment..

  • http://room214.com Jason Cormier

    Dave, I’m anxious to see the remaining content in Brian’s series of posts. In my own experience, I’ve found his writing brings up both answers and questions. As a practitioner, I always appreciate a challenge to my own statements and theories. Perhaps Solis will appreciate yours as well. I like your Venn diagram.