Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World

Are you prepared to get vaporized? During the past twenty years I’ve worked with companies all over the world, big and small, helping them to craft a strategy so they can transition from the old world of producing physical products to a new world in which most things tangible – products, devices, stores, and even companies – will simply disappear forever to be replaced by invisible software.  I call this getting vaporized.

My motto is “Whatever can be vaporized will be.” That means any part of your business or product that can be replaced by pure digital information almost certainly will be.

You can’t stop this transformation process because dozens or even hundreds of other companies are already working on it. They are catering to the two billion consumers wielding smartphones who demand instant access to apps and services.

For start-up ventures with no stake in the old physical economy, this poses no particular challenge – just a wealth of opportunities.  But for old-school bureaucracies, it’s a scary new world that requires managers to rethink the basic principles that govern established businesses.

From health care to handbags, no industry is immune. At least some portion of every firm’s activity will be transformed from the old-school physical industrial process into a vaporized state of information available on demand. You won’t be able to stop this process, but if you react soon enough, you will at least have the option to determine how and when you will respond.

The secret to success when technology is driving change rapidly in an established industry is to envision possibilities that many consider unthinkable: to make an effort to envision what a disruptive change might look like, and how it will transform the entire business process. That’s easier said than done. To do so, you have to set aside everything that made your company a big success and focus on the changes that will wipe all of that success away. This is not an easy exercise for anyone.  To get started, ask yourself the following questions:


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About the Author

Robert TercekRobert Tercek invents the digital future. He has launched satellite TV networks, the first video on mobile phones, multimedia games, and live interactive learning programs. He provides strategic insight to Turner Broadcasting, InterPublic Group, PBS, and other firms. He previously served in executive leadership at MTV, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and most recently as President of Digital Media at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. And is the author of VAPORIZED: Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World, For more information, go to: http://www.roberttercek.com/

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