Here is an interesting way to think about what businesses will die in our lifetime.
Instead of trying to think about what is next in a ‘disruptive’ sort of way, think about what you don’t like about a current business. And then, that might be the key that some other company uses (or the company itself will use) to change that business. A business ‘dying’ is loose, then, because Shell may die in its current form but still exist as Shell. Ok, let’s jump in.
Oh wait. Amazon is an interesting one. I worry about how powerful Bezos is, and his company, but my worry doesn’t exceed the amount of saved effort that company provides. Same goes for Google. I don’t like a number of things about Google, but BOY do they make life easier. My thinking is to discount moral objections, because laziness is the key here. What don’t you like about a current company / service?
Know what I don’t think is worth it? Going to an NFL game regularly.
- What if there were more trains that took me to/from the game without effort. No traffic, no wasted hours of getting in and out of the game.
- If the NFL was smart, when they are pumping a city for tax dollars to make you pay for someone else’s thing, they’d also get some money for mass transit.
- That cost is harsh, and then you tack on any food or drinks? Brutal. AND the annoyance of getting up to go get stuff and missing some of the game.
- This one is something the NFL itself will have to fix, and right now they have no reason to … But if they saw a drop in attendance, I bet some changes might come along here.
Know what is prime for AI and a better experience? Grocery stores.
- The grocery store involves a lot more thinking, walking, and repetition than is necessary. You go to the grocery store and let’s say 50% of your list is the same every time.
- Why do you need to go pick all these things out, if you have a grocery store membership card your store already knows exactly what your habits are.
- Why should you have to bother with finding a new recipe that aligns with what you like when the grocery store can do this for you? Again, they track everything you buy (assuming you have one of those cards) so they can see that you’re trying to eat healthier based on your trends, they can see that you’re into whole wheat pasta, lemons, and chicken, so why not have the grocery store propose a new recipe for you? AND, while you’re at it grocery store, why don’t you go ahead and just have a little robot put together my common things in one container, and your suggested items in another container, and have that waiting in a cart for me. (You could ping the grocery store via their to be built app and then boom, their little robots will run off and compile your cart.)
Know what everyone is sick of? Washing their hands.
- Poop particles, are they really so harmful?
- Nah I’m just kidding.
- But what would really be nice is a tiny robot who would pop out of my desk and put some lotion on my knuckles so that my hands don’t hurt AND I don’t have greasy lotion fingers (and keyboard).
So back to you, dear reader. What’s next?
Lately I have found that I needed to spruce up my work persona. You see, I have not shaved for about a month and it’s drawing comments (notable comparisons: Lincoln, Wolverine, guy who stopped trying). While this is not that big a deal because I am a software engineer and one of my co-workers likes wearing an old t-shirt with cats on it, I do feel like I should try to counter this lazy look with something.
Maybe some co-workers see the facial hair and think, “he must be a hard worker because he has stopped grooming himself, so that extra energy is now going towards heavy mental lifting.” Other co-workers may see me and think, “there goes Brad, I bet he’s going to sit at his desk and write a poem about oak trees. Or something.”
What better way to counter potential negative reactions than by making myself seem more productive!
Here’s the Solution …
Sure, we all know the definition. Business is, you know, an entity that makes money or whatever. But what about business as … a verb!
“Where are you going?”
“I have to go to business a Todd meeting.”
“…What’s that mean?”
“Sorry, no time, business.”
“Woah … He’s important.”
Nevermind the fact that I don’t work with a guy named Todd – The person will be flabbergasted by my business acuity. Or should I say the person will be business’d by my business acuity. (More like a business cutey! What? That doesn’t make sense. Shh, yes it does.)
Business this idea over in your brain, and let me know what you think. Meanwhile, I’ve got some important documents to business.
(I would recommend reading this while listening to: http://www.forestmood.com/… I listened to that when I wrote this. The site is awesome!)
Sometimes it’s fun to watch two businessmen talk. You could be enjoying a nice lunch by yourself, or be at an airport, or if you’re a corporate slacker – at work.
Here’s what I like to pretend the conversations are like.
Guy 1: Jerry, Jerry is that you?
(Apparently) Jerry: Oh, Bob! Bob, how are ya!?
Bob: Oh great Jerry, just great!
Jerry: How are the wife and kids, Bob?
Bob: Oh, not too good.
Jerry: No! What happened?!
Bob: Eaten by a dragon. The lot of them. Wife and the two kids.
Jerry: Isn’t life just the toughest sometimes?
Bob: Oh yeah, real tough. And you know the damnedest thing of it is? It was a vegetarian dragon.
Bob: Yep. A vegetarian dragon up and ate the wife and kids.
Jerry: Well. I never.
Bob: Apparently thought they were carrots or something, I’m not sure – I don’t speak dragon. I’m not on Wall Street.
Jerry: Oh ho ho ho! Ha ha!
Bob: Ha ha! Yes. It feels good to laugh again.
Jerry: Sure does, Bob, sure does.
Bob: Say, how’s your dear wife Helen doing?
Jerry: Ohhh, well, that’s a whole big story.
Bob: Oh you’ve got to tell it now Jerry!
Jerry: Ok I’ll give you the short version, and then you can tell me if you want the long version.
Bob: I’m all ears!
Jerry: She started in on worshiping the devil, and sold our son’s soul for a riding lawn mower.
Jerry: Yeah. And it’s a stick-shift mower!
Jerry: Who the hell drives stick on a mower? You’ve got bits of twig flying up at your face, the tree roots to look out for – you can’t be shifting gears left and right!
Bob: That damn devil!
Jerry: Yep, yep. So you want the long version?
Bob: Don’t bother, Jerry, if you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a thousand times.
Bob: Tell me about it.
Jerry: Is that Susan over there?
Bob: I think it is.
Jerry: I heard she takes seventy minute lunches …
Bob: Now that is just disgusting. I’ve seen some things in my life but I just can’t tolerate that.
Jerry: I don’t know how she lives with herself day to day.