According to Wikipedia, “creative destruction” describes the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”
(This article appeared previously on CareerPivot.com )
Creative destruction is nothing new.
I was listening to the Freakonomics Radio podcast called How Safe is Your Job? (Rebroadcast) and they were discussing that in 1905 there were 400,000 pianos made in America. If you wanted music in your house you learned to play the piano.
The phonograph was created in 1877 but it was not until 1915, did phonograph sales start to take off. Later came the radio. Pianos did not go away but today there are about 30,000 pianos made each year or 8% of the number made in 1905.
The piano industry was changed forever by technology.
Creative Destruction and Kodak
Kodak was another classic example of creative destruction.
Kodak created the digital camera in 1975. Yes, 1975! It was not commercially viable but Kodak’s management team could not see the future. That future would destroy how Kodak made money … chemical film.
In 2001, Kodak had the #2 digital camera on the market but lost $60 on every sale. Fast forward to 2012 and Kodak declared bankruptcy.
In both these cases, creative destruction took 20, 30 or 40 years to destroy an industry.
Now that pace is accelerating.
The Destruction of the Brick and Mortar Store by Amazon
Amazon.com was found in 1994 and initially just sold books. In 2015, Amazon passed Walmart to be the most valuable retailer in the world by market capitalization.
With almost every major brick and mortar retailer with the exception of Walmart are in trouble, Amazon and other online retailers are wreaking creative destruction on the retail industry.
Even Walmart is feeling the heat as they acquired Jet.com in August of 2016. Jet.com was created by the founder of Diapers.com which was acquired by Amazon in 2011. The original idea behind Jet.com was the only source of income would come from the $50 annual membership fee. All products would be sold at cost.
It did not work out that way but you can see the creative business models that are possible online that are not possible in a traditional brick and mortar store.
I recently had a discussion with a board member of my breakfast club about the large number of realtors that attended our meetings. The gentleman I was speaking with said: “the breakfast club was a great place for anyone who owned a brick and mortar business to network”.
My response was ” the only brick and mortar establishments I go to are grocery stores and restaurants”. That is a bit of an exaggeration but not by much.
Creative destruction is wreaking havoc in the retail industry.
The Apple iPhone
What do I get from my iPhone that I did not 10 years ago?
-The weather report from the Weather Channel app
-Manage my social media (LinkedIn and Twitter) I removed the Facebook app after the last Presidential election
-Edit files in Google Drive or Dropbox
-Communicate with clients over Skype
-Check scores on the ESPN app
-Find my keys using the Tile app
-Listen to podcasts and audio books as I no longer listen to the radio
-Find the new coffee shop via Google and Apple Maps
-Enter the YMCA by swiping the bar code in the YMCA app
-Manage multiple credit cards and bank accounts
-Show the police officer my proof of insurance via the State Farm app
-Check airline schedules to see if my son’s flight home is on time
-Search google to answer the question my wife just asked me
-Watch International House Hunters on the HGTV channel via the Sling TV app
The list goes on and on and on.
How many industries, jobs, and careers have been touched? LOTS!
The Apple iPhone started a revolution of creative destruction that will do nothing but accelerate as more industries figure out how to leverage the technology.
What Should You Do?
You can survive creative destruction. You should always be looking for new opportunities. As I wrote in my post, you must Create Opportunities and Stop Reacting to Opportunities.
All of this creative destruction creates opportunities.
-You can write and publish books. If you are not sure how to publish your own book check out Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula. I have no affiliation other than I listen to their podcast.
-Record audio books. Use ACX.com to either record the books yourself or find voice talent to record the book.
-Become a Virtual Assistant. I have published one post on this topic — Cash In On Your Skills: Become A Virtual Assistant [Guest Post].
-Build an online business where you teach anything to anyone in the world. I currently belong to the Flipped LifeStyle community where I am working on building the Career Pivot’s Repurpose Your Career community. More on that in coming months.
-Work freelance, full time or part time remotely. Check out FlexJobs for opportunities. (CareerPivot affiliate link)
-Be a rideshare driver. Check out the guest post, Uber – What Baby Boomers Need to Know
-Rent out a room in your house as a short-term rental. Recently, we traveled to Ecuador and stayed at an AirBnB managed by an American who rented the property from a local dentist. He then listed it on AirBnB as a short term rental. This was how he supported himself.
There are many more opportunities created every single day. These opportunities do not look like the safe choices we expected earlier in our career. Remember playing it safe is now the new risky.
I live in Austin Texas where the unemployment rate for those 18-49 years of age is 3.2%. However, the unemployment rate for those 50 and over is 12.2%.
You can no longer sit back and expect nothing to change. If you want to be viable and continue to earn an income after 50 you must be nimble.
What opportunities are you going to create?
Marc Miller is the founder of Career Pivot, which helps those in the 2nd Half of Life design careers that they can grow into for the next 30 years. Marc authored the book Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life published in September 2019. Marc is a recovering engineer, a multipotentialite and a professional career changer as he has made 6 career pivots over the last 35 years. Marc is also the podcast host of the award winning Repurpose Your Career Podcast. You can learn more about Marc, Career Pivot and the Repurpose Your Career podcast by visiting Careerpivot.com.
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