Thursday, June 30, 2016

"You Have To Change With The Times"

My nana used to tell me that her "gran"(dmother) in England used to tell them when they were children, "You have to change with the times."  Obviously that advice is better some times than others, but in general I'd say it's not far off--you at least need to acknowledge the changes in the times and decide the best way for you to react to those changes.

The article quoted below reminded me of a discussion I was once in about 19th century railroads in the United States.  At the time they were enormously powerful, very rich, and influential companies, but they didn't change with the times--and today I'd venture a guess that very few Americans could name a single extant railroad company besides Amtrak.  They lost their influence and power because they saw themselves as railroad companies and not freight companies or transportation companies.  They didn't adapt to steamships and later to big rigs, they stayed mired in rail.  They didn't change with the times.

It seems that some of our automobile companies today are trying to change with the times:
But most important from a business perspective, driverless vehicles are poised to threaten the $570 billion that Americans spend each year on new cars. For 125 years U.S. auto companies made their money on the manufacture of motor vehicles. Now they must be in the business of ride-hailing apps, shuttle buses, 3D maps, and computers on wheels that drive themselves. They’re no longer automotive companies either—they’re now calling themselves “mobility” companies, just in case all those predictions about the end of car ownership come true. At stake is a transportation services market that Ford believes is worth $5.4 trillion, a sum that makes you wonder why it took the auto industry so long to go after it.

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