The internet has steadily moved into so many pieces of our lives over the past couple decades that it can be difficult to really appreciate because of its ubiquity. But it is so prevalent that a recent report says going without the internet for the day would come at a worldwide cost of $43 billion.
First, I have to admit that I don’t really buy this number. I am sure it was arrived at in a reasonable manner – something along the lines of adding up purchases made online with hours of work done that also required internet access – but seeing as it was done by a VPN company, it also had interest in this number being as big as it could be. And yes, losing the internet would be a huge disruptor, but if we are talking about losses in a day, well, once Amazon comes back up tomorrow, you can still make your purchases. And some of that work that you couldn’t completely log in and record for the day, well some things still could get done, and you can save them to the servers when the internet comes back up.
But after pushing through the slight disbelief, I started to think about just how much of a change this really highlights for it is undeniable how many aspects of our lives have been changed by it. No matter how stubborn a business is about adapting new technologies, if you did not jump on this one, chances are you perished (Blockbuster, Kodak) or are still hanging on by flimsy strings – before I started doing my current job, I worked for a newspaper, remember those?
And the smaller a business is, the easier it can be to find an individual niche and work from it even if ignoring larger trends, but that was not an option for those giant companies. Once they didn’t make the shift, they were left behind.
So this is a bit of a warning about trying to hold out against all advances. This does not mean everyone should be an early adopter, for there are plenty of new hot things that are dropped into the nostalgia bin just as quickly as they popped up. But everyone needs to have a tipping point where they acknowledge a change will be long-lasting. There are certain things that are going to be worth being stubborn on when it comes to the character of your business, but one also cannot be stubborn enough to endanger their business’s overall existence.
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