Last year we stumbled upon a story in the Daily Mail UK, sharing that Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft generate a combined profit of $2,000 every second or $140,000 for every minute of every day. Numbers that I guess would need a healthy raise now that Apple has surpassed $800 billion in capitalization. If we take the above four companies and add Amazon, Uber (based on private valuation of $62 bn) and Netflix the combined market cap of these seven companies is $3 trillion or roughly the same as the Gross Domestic Product of Canada and Australia combined! There are only four countries in the world with a GDP above $3bn - United States, China, Japan and Germany.
These seven companies came up in a spirited Wifi Hifi editorial meeting this week where we were laying the foundation for a story that we intend to call "The Disruptors." We have yet to reach a consensus on how to tackle such a feature. One idea is to profile the companies that are doing the disrupting and address how they have changed the way we conduct business and how they have become so large so quickly.
Another suggestion; instead of addressing the disruptors, why not focus on the companies and industries that have been disrupted such as print media, the taxi industry, cable companies, the hotel and travel industry, retail and so on and focus on how these companies have responded to the challenges they face now that the way they are used to doing business has been turned on its end.
Another angle could have us assessing why some industries have been more prime for disruption than others. We all agree that prior to Uber, the taxi industry was hardly known for it's stellar customer service and maybe cable companies slamming down our throat channels we had no interest in created a perfect storm for Netflix to be embraced. A recent Oxford University study discovered that since Uber, income for salaried taxi drivers has fallen 10% but has resulted in a rise of 50% in the number of self-employed drivers. The study suggests the sky has not really fallen on the taxi industry after all but has made them better.
Another question we are grappling with is if these companies are really disruptors at all, or a standard evolution toward bigger, better and faster? And while these "disruptors" have had a negative impact on many businesses, they have also had a tremendous positive impact too. Take any small retailer you can think of and chances are they have a Facebook page to build community, a business page that can be found on Google maps and Google search, they may also have a third party selling partnership with Amazon. In other words, the very companies that are killing your business are providing a platform and selling tools to actually grow your business.
See how tough this is? Tell us what kind of story you'd like to read.