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David and Goliath

 In Atlas

Writer Malcolm Gladwell took an interesting look at this classic story, and I think it really relates to our industry today.

Goliath had two things going for him. His size and his skill with a sword. Those two things had worked for him time and time again making him the dominate force in the region. But we all know things change, and when David showed up one thing was different, David changed the rules. He adapted to his environment and gained the upper hand. End of story, right? Maybe not. Maybe David wasn’t as groundbreaking as the story told. Sure, he was scrappy and resourceful. But maybe the main reason Goliath lost was that he was blind. Not in the traditional sense. But blind to how the fight changed. He assumed that what had always worked should work now. He never bothered with trying to get better or grow. He was the dominate force, and he became comfortable. In a split second, the world changed. It passed him by. He didn’t look ahead and adapt. He stood still, and it proved to be his undoing.

Our industry has evolved. The tried and true methods of recruiting are dead. No one wants a thousand phone calls. No one wants untargeted spam emails. In the short amount of time we’ve had social media, it’s changed. We’ve seen this play out over and over again in the history of business. Sears was Amazon before Amazon. In fact, they should have been Amazon, but somewhere along the way they stopped innovating and the world passed them by. Blockbuster laughed at the idea of Netflix, then scoffed at the success of Netflix. Then Netflix passed them, and Blockbuster died.

There is a Blockbuster in our industry, a Goliath of sorts, and their end is near. They won’t close, they’ll be purchase and broken up. Like Goliath, they didn’t adapt. They turned blind to the world once they tasted success. They rested on the old tried and true methods, and now we are watching them crumble.

How will it affect our industry? My guess is it’ll be like the Blockbuster/Netflix shift, and their demise will have little to no long-term effect. People didn’t stop watching movies, they just changed the method in which they were obtained and viewed. Things change, businesses evolve. Well…some businesses evolve.

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