BlockBuster Video: A Timeless Example of Digital Disruption
by Daniel Newman | July 31, 2017
Listen to this article now

One of the most difficult parts of educating large groups of people is the ability to make connections between what you are trying to teach and real world examples that you know.

If you’ve ever raised children or managed a team, you are probably familiar with the “Why” that follows many instructions. Often times the best way to respond to this continuous line of questioning is to provide real world examples that someone can understand. In order for the examples to be understandable, they need two elements.

1. They need to be examples that correlate closely with whatever the idea, direction or instruction is.
2. The examples need to be understood and relatable.

When it comes to Digital Transformation, Disruption and Innovation, there are many out there trying to educate, explain or even just create fear about the future and the surrounding uncertainty. No matter what the intention is, if you want people to buy in to what you are trying to communicate, it is important that you can provide relatable examples. One of the easiest and most successful ways to do this is to use an example that someone can intimately relate to.

Last week I read a post online from someone I know and respect that was calling out the overuse of Blockbuster’s demise as an example of disruption. His point was salient in that it is used frequently when discussing digital disruption; along with Kodak, Blackberry, Barnes and Noble and a few others, we hear about so often.

His post was met with a lot of gladiator like support. Others raising their swords and calling for the banishing of such non-sense and blatant overuse. I, However, stood up to the rhetoric and here is why…

People need examples that they can relate to and while there are certainly more current and perhaps even better examples of companies and industries that are suffering digital disruption (try every company), people will learn best and pay the most attention to examples they can relate to.

I know this as we covered the Blockbuster vs Netflix disruption in our book Building Dragons​. I also regularly share pieces of the Blockbuster story on stage at events around the world. When I share the story, I know it isn’t the first time they heard it, but I also know that it draws tremendous parallels to the customer centered digital transformation shifts that we do research on every day at Futurum​.

So yes, newer examples will continue to come along. However, the mighty disruptive tides faced by Blockbuster serve as a marquis example in any education to the masses on the forces that disruption can play on business. The key for those talking and writing on the topic is that they can extend their teachings beyond this example and use it to continue to help companies learn and grow from the transformational forces taking place around us every day.

Photo Credit: gtmcknight Flickr via Compfight cc

About the Author

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio