I imagine the sinking feelings among Yellow Pages salespeople, or Encyclopedia Britannica reps, as they saw their businesses evaporate as online competition decimated their markets. Meanwhile, thousands of local order takers at daily newspaper offices started notices their lines were not ringing — why place an expensive newspaper classified ad when you can reach your market instantly and for free (or almost so) with Kijiji or Craig’s List?
At some point, technological change can have the figurative effects of a nuclear bomb on established industries and business practices. These brutal changes have certainly affected the media and publishing businesses, where I live. Quite a few of my peer publishers have failed or shrunk severely.
These changes have yet to truly tear into the core of the architectural, engineering and construction community, though integrated modular concepts such as Katerra have the potential to wreck havoc.
It is easy to say “be prepared” — but for someone who has lived through the storm, I can say that you really can’t plan too much for these sorts of changes — but you must (when they happen) be ready to respond quickly and nimbly. That includes making brutal decisions to retrench or reframe your business (and your marketing).
And, of course you can keep your eyes open for opportunities, as we did when we noticed the new Ontario Construction Act and its two word redefinition of “construction trade newspaper” to allow digital as well as printed publishing. As I checked the boxes, I realized that we could indeed create a new monopoly-breaking publication and so prepared to launch Ontario Construction News.