Bob Lefsetz made several really important observations in his “2019” post (emphasis mine):
2018 was the year of streaming. Yes, Spotify launched in the U.S. nearly a decade ago, and YouTube before that, but it took that long for the public to catch up with the new paradigm, never mind the business. Remember how long it took CDs to become the standard? At first, they were overpriced and rare, then AOL was giving them away and there was only one good track on a disc and Napster happened. But do not expect disruption of streaming. Streaming represents on demand, once you’ve reached it there is nothing after.
It is a business. It’s not a museum. Traction, response and momentum are important.
We’re all looking for change, for disruption, for an angle. We ask, “Where are we winning? Where are we losing? Why?” Eventually, some playing fields finally flatten and certain games just end. The journey from CDs to Spotify is not unlike the journey from retail to e-commerce, or the journey from the old-school stockbrokers to the modern online version. The common thread? The internet changed distribution. Once something is on demand, that’s the end. You can’t beat “anywhere, anytime, at no additional cost.”
Professionally, we want to look past the cost savings that the Spotify’s, Amazon’s, and Robinhood’s provide and instead focus on the consumer preferences they target. In an on-demand world, these are the companies that are winning by capturing the attention of their clientele. They have traction with their customers in that they are taking on more and more of their business, they respond interactively with them to figure out what it is they need, and they have forward momentum in how they keep positively impressing themselves on their minds.
Value is always created in the customer’s mind. When we focus on preferences and understand how the landscape for distribution has changed across industries, we can determine our path forward. The on-demand mindset is only just taking hold, we can’t ignore it.