It’s “Back to Zero” Faster than Ever Before in this Era of Disruption


Joel Barker
Joel Barker

When a paradigm shifts, everyone goes back to zero.
Joel Barker, from the video The Business of Paradigms

Well, not everyone. The person/company that changed the paradigm starts way ahead of zero.

Bob Morris excerpts a good article by John Hagel on his blog on the issue of “is disruption real?”: What’s Missing in the Great Disruption Debate? So, is disruption real? Yes, it is. Yes, it is speeding up. And yes, when a disruption hits, everyone who is doing things the old way – the old way, which has now been displaced/replaced by the new way – is left behind. Seriously behind.  Back to zero!

When I was first reading about this process years ago, we used the phrase “paradigm shift.” People argue about definitions (here’s an article that differentiates in this way: a series of disruptive innovations results in a paradigm shift), but however you define it, when it arrives, things have changed. Not surface things, not “appearances” — real changes.

Here’s one arena seemingly on the verge of a full-fledged disruption. From A Zillow-Trulia Merger Could Clear Out America’s Realtor Population Within Two Years by Jim Klinge:

If Zillow and Trulia join forces, could they take over the industry?
The real estate-selling industry will need to concede, either formally or informally.  Informally, we have already given up.

If you read the full article, it presents that view that the Zillow-Trulia merger will result in a true winner-take-all advantage. One result: a customer will be able to see how individual realtors have done in “this market” in the last ___ months. So, imagine being able to clearly see which realtors have closed no deals in the last six months vs. realtors who have closed many such deals. The top producer will be at the top, and the less-than-top-producers will be ever more invisible.

The authors of The Second Machine Age predict this very development. It will be a winner-take-all era. It may come true sooner rather than later than we thought in the real estate arena.

There is, of course, one really big question for you to ask in your own arena. How long before a disruption, a paradigm shift, leaves you behind? It really would be better to be the disrupter yourself, wouldn’t it?

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