When disruption happens in politics and government…
I’m certainly not trying to tell you who to vote for — or against. I am not advocating a particular party or philosophy here. I’m not even telling you whom I will vote for! However, here are just a few thoughts on my mind that I wanted to share for your consideration:
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Last night, watching protestors in Chicago shut down a rally for Presidential candidate Donald Trump, I became really concerned for the future of our country.
- This morning, I’m having different thoughts.
When just about every industry has been impacted by the forces of disruption — why would we ever assume that this same pattern of upheaval wouldn’t happen to our form of government and politics?
- You’ve probably heard the old line about when your neighbor loses his job, it’s a recession — but, when you lose your job, it’s a depression. There’s also some insight there about what’s happening right now in politics.
When the taxi industry was being disrupted by Uber, Lyft, and others, I have to admit that I watched from the sidelines and observed the dramatic upheaval in that business with an almost Darwin-esque perspective about “survival of the fittest” for a changing market.
My guess is that my viewpoint for — and passion about — the subject would’ve been a hell of a lot different if I was running a taxicab company and had paid enormous sums to register my business and have drivers with the proper licensing certification.
When it’s happening to YOU, disruption has an extraordinarily powerful impact.
In addition, from an outsider’s point of observation, disruption appears much cleaner and neater than it does when it is occurring in your own industry. I can whip out my iPhone and use the Uber app — and, from my perspective, it seemed as though this amazing disruption happened almost overnight.
From the inside, however, disruption is very messy. For example, did you know that Google tried to launch a service called “Ride Finder” in 14 cities in 2005? It didn’t work and was closed in 2009. A startup called “Taxi Magic” tried to do something similar, launched prior to Uber, and wasn’t very successful.
- However, because we aren’t actively involved in that industry, all that we see is the end result of the business who is able to out-execute the competition.
By the time the disruption plops into our laps, we are usually the blind beneficiaries of the enormous struggle that it took to blow up “the way that things have always been done” in the past.
Disruption is happening now in American politics and government. However, because we are all participants as citizens — and, especially, because of the ubiquitous visibility provided by the media — every one of us is engaged in some manner in this messy movement to the future.
For that reason, I’m becoming a bit more optimistic.
In part, it took Comcast treating customers like crap to get us to the point where we can turn on our Apple TV, hit the Netflix app and stream “House of Cards” or “Orange is the New Black.”
Similarly, perhaps it’s going to take the Trumps and Sanders of the world to get us to the next great horizon of American government, politics — and, yes, business, as well.
It’s a painful process — no matter the business or industry that is going through it. It’s happening now to us; our government, our leaders, our institutions.
- But, ask yourself — have you benefited from the end result of disruption in other industries? The answer is, of course, “yes!” If it wasn’t, then that disruption would not have succeeded.
My choice is to be positive. I believe that even though I might not like the process or the options very much right now, the end result may be that our government improves through this painful struggle — just as the other segments touched by disruption have created amazing, productive change in our society.
How could we have believed that it wasn’t going to happen, anyway?