Category Archives: blockbuster

How Quickly Things Change

If you have never seen the “Blockbuster Offers a Glimpse of Movie Renting Past”, it is a great (and funny) piece that promotes some great conversations on how quickly things can become obsolete:

It is a great video to discuss how quickly things change in our world today. Although this was “best practice” only a few years ago, it is already outdated and the company closed the last of it’s stores in 2014.

I wrote about this specifically in “The Innovator’s Mindset“;

It was only a few years ago that video rental stores like Blockbuster were the best way
for people to watch movies in the comfort of their own home. In some places around the world, these stores still exist. But in the Western world, cheaper and more convenient options (no travel required) have put most neighborhood video stores out of business.

The Internet completely changed the movie rental industry. Companies that took advantage of new technology, like Netflix with its DVD-by-mail and online streaming options, are thriving. Meanwhile, companies, like Blockbuster, that refuse to let go of outdated business models experience a slow, painful death.

Blockbuster had the opportunity to buy Netflix a few times, but declined. And by the time it attempted to start its own DVD-by-mail program, the company had lost its place as an industry leader. The hard lesson that Blockbuster and its fellow neighborhood movie rental
businesses failed to heed is this: innovate or die.

This reality hit me hard recently at a parent evening the other night when I shared this video. As parents and adults in the room laughed, I noticed one child who was probably around eight or nine years old, looking around and wondering what was going on.  After the video played, I asked him if he could talk about what was going on and he had no clue.  When I tried to explain about going to a store to rent movies, he looked at me like I was crazy.  He had never known this reality, and never would, yet this was our reality, not his.  If he was four, it would make more sense, but he wasn’t.

I often think about what we will be laughing at or shaking our head at ten or twenty years from now, but if we do not understand that we need to change, maybe we won’t have the chance to laugh at all.  You either create change, or change will happen to you.  In all other industries, different and better options are either being offered by current organizations, or by new ones coming in.  We should never take for granted the continuous need for all organizations to get better.  Education not excluded.


Could “Too Late” Come Too Soon?

I recently read or heard somewhere a statement that really resonated with me;

“We expect innovation in every aspect of our lives except in the area that we work in.” Unknown

Think about it. The first iPhone was announced only in 2007, before there was even an app store available. Think about what could be done with that phone now and what you can do with the iPhone 6s today. Yet people regretted moving from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 6s because the changes weren’t that significant.

“In general though, the iPhone 6S feels like the most modest “S” iPhone upgrade yet. The new features are cool at best, but only moderately useful. If you own an iPhone 6, you’re not missing much if you choose not to upgrade. Unless you plan on changing the size of your phone — upgrading to a bigger screen, for instance — don’t spend your money this year. Wait until the iPhone 7.” (Smith, 2015)

Think about the original iPhone to now and how significant the changes are in a short time. I can’t even imagine a phone that I couldn’t bank on, make video calls on, or have only a camera on one side. Gasp!

This is not just education.  Think about taxi companies and how they hate ridesharing companies. This put those companies in a situation where they had to get better or else people would (and in many circumstances) go with a different service.  Now some taxi companies are allowing you to pay with your phone, but I have had the experience in the past year (yes in 2015) where they had to get out the old credit card imprinter (I had to google that name because I honestly had no idea what it was called) for me to pay.  These companies have forced the taxi companies to innovate or die off. But if it comes too late, people could have already chosen something else. This is definitely forcing their hand.

Sitting in a session with Anthony Von Bank at the recent TIES conference, he shared this video from 2008:

What resonated with me more than anything, was not what was being said, but the date. This video came out in 2008, only a year after the release of the first iPhone.  With so much change in our world since then, has education mirrored that change?  Where are we in this journey?

The sooner we see (in education) that innovation is not only about everyone else, but us as well, the better off we will be. With many organizations (Blockbuster, Kodak, Taxis), “too late” came too soon. We need to expect from ourselves what we expect from others.