A few Random Thoughts on a Saturday… about Disruption, Change, the Price of Oil…


Call this a little bit of Saturday musing…

#1 — About Disruption

I just read this, from Slate: The End of the Taxi Era – The bankruptcy of San Francisco’s largest cab company is just the beginning. Thanks to Uber, the entire industry is doomed.

And I started thinking – has there been any company/industry that shifted quickly enough to remain dominant, or even growing, after a major disruption disrupted their business, their model, their product? It’s hard to think of any. This much is sure – the list, if it exists, is s short one.

#2 – About Change – see disruption.

#3 – About the price of oil.

I’m no oil expert. But I do know that the price of oil is, at the moment, under $34.00 per barrel. (It was at $111.00 per barrel in the summer of 2014, and then, the decline began…).

So, why the decline? There are a lot of reasons suggested by many: Saudi Arabia’s actions re. their output; supply and demand (the last figure I read revealed that we are now producing 100 million barrels of oil per day, but only using 98 million barrels a day. It does not take long for that to create an oversupply, thus dragging prices down).

But, here’s another piece of the puzzle. I’ve quit driving. Not completely. But my driving has gone down enough of a factor that, if others are doing what I am doing, it helps explain part of the problem.

What do I mean that I’ve quit driving” Well, the usual – back when gasoline was way too expensive, I re-trained myself to combine many errands together, driving less overall.

(And, by the way, I drive a car that is averaging over 30 miles per gallon — the best I have ever attained in all of my decades of driving).

Everything StoreBut, it’s more than that. I really don’t want to drive unless I have to. And, conveniently, the internet has made that possible. With Amazon Prime, if I need an item, and it is available on Amazon, I don’t “run errands” to go get what I need. I one-click order it, frequently from my iPhone or iPad while sitting in my easy chair, and it arrives two days later (or less).

Here’s a specific example.  I used to drive to a bookstore (a local independent bookstore, then Borders, then Barnes & Noble), every month to buy the physical copy of the business book I was presenting that month at the First Friday Book Synopsis.  Now, it’s just a one-click purchase. I used to live in bookstores; now I am a very, very infrequent go-to-the-store customer.

And every “errand” trip I cut has an impact on my over-all oil use.

And, by the way, though there are other factors, I think this is a factor on the sales numbers decline (and stock prices) of many retail outlets, like… a couple of my favorites from the past. Yes, if I know exactly what I want, and don’t have to “shop” in person, I’ve abandoned physical stores for The Everything Store known as Amazon.

I think this is having a big impact. What do you think?

{You might want to read my blog post from a while back: Here are My Takeaways for The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon}.

Those are a few Saturday musings on a cold Dallas Saturday.

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