What's the Difference Between Blockbuster and Amazon?

In 1976, a high school senior in New Jersey listened to his teacher, a mean in his early forties, explain the value of typing for college students. Thirty years later, that student’s daughter sat in the same classroom listening to the same teacher explain the intricacies of Microsoft Excel while writing code on the Smartboard.

How does this anecdote relate to smith & beta’s mission of continual professional development? That teacher did something that few professionals in our industry are doing: he adapted with technology to stay relevant in his field.  

Computer science is not the only field in which professionals are being left in the dust by changing technology. Today, brands across industries are facing an ultimatum: either adapt your products and marketing strategies to new technology or risk closing your doors [think Blockbuster].

Why is this shift upending so many industries and major organizations?

According to smith & beta’s 2016 report, 62% of industry professionals say their clients are asking for more advanced digital work from them yet 43% of respondents acknowledged they are unprepared to provide more advanced work. When a company does not have the knowledge and talent to give their customers what they expect in the current technological climate, they fall behind and often cannot catch up.

Although some companies are adapting well to technological advances, few brands have been able to stand out by being innovative with technology. In 2014, Amazon released its “sleeper hit,” the Amazon Echo. Initially, the invention of the Echo seemed to be a daunting task but by learning the technology and being innovative, Amazon was able to release the product.  

Companies can only create new digital products like the Pizza Tracker if they are knowledgeable about both the needs of their customers and digital technology. Companies can only create new digital products like “Alexa” if they are knowledgeable about both the needs of their customers and digital technology.

The thought of your company becoming the next Blockbuster or Kodak is a bit unnerving for most.  What is the solution? How can your organization avoid becoming irrelevant due to technology? Education.  

The teacher prided himself on acknowledging technological advances and his shifting shortcomings. To stay abreast with new technology, innovation, and mindsets he took classes to stay current; your organization needs to do the same.  

smith & beta has a plethora of workshops designed to help organizations learn how to use new technology innovatively including our class “Technology Innovation: Possibility and Feasibility.” This workshop, taught by Scott Prindle (of Domino’s Pizza Tracker fame), focuses on techniques for rapidly assessing technical feasibility, timing, and costs and ensuring a steady-stream of innovative ideas, all rooted in the realities of client budgets and timelines.

Don’t try and be a company in 2017 trying to rent videos from a storefront.  

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