Falling in love with infrastructure

Here’s a list of companies who should’ve done something, yet instead, let someone else do it for them. And in being asleep at the wheel, they will never be as powerful (read relevant) again.

Yellow Pages should have become… Google
Encyclopaedia Britannica should have become… Wikipedia
RCA / Sony / BMG / EMI / Warner should have become… iTunes
Newspaper classifieds should have become… Craigs List
Trading Post should have become… eBay
Barns & Noble should have become… Amazon
Industry X could well become… Your startup

The key point is this. The future doesn’t care about your legacy, or how things were done in the past, it only cares about what people actually want. And people don’t care about your existing infrastructure, they only care about themselves.

There’s a million more of these examples out there, and many more to come. The question is which industry will you disrupt because they are too in love with their existing infrastructure?



  1. I love this Steve. Nice Post. Have you ever read funky business? It’s about this concept. The problem is, a bigger a company becomes, the harder it is to adapt. Hence, “stay funky”.

  2. Hey Richard,

    Haven’t read ‘Stay Funky’ but will add to to my Amazon wish list. But you are right…. in some ways the system is rigged, in that we become successful via building an infrastructure, yet this exact thing ‘the infrastructure’ then becomes the thing that could open the door to others and new technology. Now I’m very curious about the book.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Harvard innovation guru Clayton Christensen has been banging on about these issues for at least 15 years (under the banner of ‘Disruptive Technology’ and ‘the Innovator’s Dilemma’). Check out this interview in Business Week for a nice taster of this take on the “rigged system” you observe:


    And a longer reading list here:


  4. Steve, The name of the book is actually “Funky Business”. Here’s a comment from Amazon…

    Some say they can’t put a certain book down. This one I had to – regularly – in order to recover from the impact of the statement I had just read. I’m in the Internet business and thought I understood plenty about the New Economy. But this book didn’t just open my eyes, it ripped them out and tossed them high in the sky!

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