Disruption has occurred in every market since the beginning of business. In most marketplaces, disruption adds more value or displaces an older technology all together. It is meant to create tension and interruption to what is normal, until it is normal. Today’s competitive commerce environment is the driving force for innovation.
Living in San Francisco, the current mother ship of startups of all kinds, I have noticed both a warm welcoming for this surplus of disruptions as well as some expected pushback.
As I strolled through my SF neighborhood last week, I came across one of the biggest mobs of taxicabs I’ve ever seen in the city. The drivers were honking, yelling, and circling the city block of Uber’s Headquarters on Market Street claiming Uber’s success is based on watered down laws and unfair practices.
Now, I am always up for a lively protest, however if any of you reside in an urban city where public transportation is a huge requirement to living and working, then you take great notice to the laws and community interactions pertaining to it. This was one of those protests that was directly related to my life and my urban lifestyle.
San Francisco taxicabs have a notoriously and well-earned bad rap for being expensive, rude, and hard to come by…plainly put; a hassle. When companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar hit the scene they directly focused their efforts on solving these exact problems within the taxi industry. These transportation apps added accountability for good service and trampled the old lifestyle of hopelessly hailing a cab in the city. The companies that produced these apps are creating a lasting partnership between drivers and passengers and have changed the experience for the better by adding safety, flexibility, and accountability to each ride.
With every new disruption, come important choices for the old guard. If companies don’t want to become causalities to technology like Blockbuster Video and the “Radio Star”, then they must grow alongside these innovations or beat the disruption altogether. To me, the taxi industry has done little to ditch their antiquated mindsets. Instead of keeping up with the pace of the world and the short shelf life of consumer satisfaction, the taxi industry has instead chosen to fight against the competition with smear tactics and loud protests. In a world where millions of people crave a new iPhone every 12 months how can any industry avoid change?
I believe as innovators we have to accept these conditions as the true motives for new technology. If you can’t beat them, at the very least JOIN THEM.
At TimePlace we are proud to stand by the disruptors as colleagues and fellow troublemakers. Above all, companies like Uber are striving to make the everyday consumer life easier, and more exciting than the year before and will continue to upset people in the process.