What Vine's Instagram Video Moment Means For You
This week, Facebook's leading social online image sharing app Instagram rocked Twitter-owned Vine's world by countering the latter's 6 second online micro-video value offering with their own highly customizable video proposition. Virtually overnight, Instagram's bold move has sparked speculation as to whether Vine, which prior to this announcement had dominated this fledgling social media communication space, faces marginalization, or even obsolescence. Early reads are that both platforms can and will co-exist. Still, Vine's world has suddenly been significantly altered.
This type of dynamic doesn't only occur in the online world. It wasn't all that long ago that Swiffer quickly redefined consumer expectations (and demand for) manual cleaning tools such as mops, brooms and dusters. Prior to Swiffer's introduction these products had remained essentially unchanged for 100 or more years. This is understandable as most market dominant companies (not just cleaning tools) are heavily invested in their existing technical and manufacturing paradigms, which makes them highly resistant to change and also highly vulnerable to competitors. I imagine that Swiffer came as quite a surprise to the existing handled goods market leaders.
Other well-known examples of paradigm-busting and revolutionary, market-altering innovations are: digital photography eclipsing analog camera and photographic film manufacturers, digital music and video players replacing vinyl record and audio/video cassette players, and even more recently, the cloud starting to displace physical file storage vehicles such as hard drives, CDs and DVDs.
As your company plans future product improvements and innovations, does it seek disruptive technologies and products, or does it limit itself to evolutionary ones? Any company should reasonably expect that others are actively working to identify the means of obsoleting the incumbents' products. The scary thing is...some of the most formidable threats may not even come from existing market competitors. Companies that don't actively work to identify "what's next" (regardless of whether this may threaten their existing infrastructure) face the very real risk of being swept aside.
What are your thoughts?