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Renee Ballard

The age of digital (distribution) disruption

In the age of the digital revolution (which has been going since the 1960s, she’s a slow burn) we’ve been watching businesses being turned inside out and upside down. Entire industries have been decimated like phone directories (remember the Yellow Pages?!) and others have birthed like the app industry which is worth USD $77 billion.

These are gorgeous headlines and I love them. But there’s one digital disruption theory out there which rankles my ire.

I’ve seen this slide floating around for a while that champions the disruptive nature of the internet and highlights the titans that rule it. And whilst I LOVE a disruptor, I find this list a little misleading. It sounds tantalizing that the world’s largest movie house owns no cinemas, but really, it’s not all that different to when television networks were the largest movie houses. What this list omits to point out is that all of these businesses are just giant distribution channels.

In a world where there are two types of business models, creators and distributors, the ones on this list sit on the distribution side and that’s a scary spot to live because distribution channels can always be superseded.

The alternative to distribution is to live on the side of creation side of the business model. It takes more courage, more creativity and more input, but the pay off is that what you create is yours and yours alone, your product is unique and that’s totally sustainable.

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