Are you the music or the music industry? Pavement or Steamroller?

I just read Seth’s post “Music vs. the music industry” and it echoes conversations I have with many of my customers that operate within endangered industries.

Are you endangered?

What’s an endangered industry? One that thrived pre-Internet on a business model based on creating scarcity of information that easily converts to digital format. These industries are either already dead (like the CD-based music industry) or have one foot in the grave (like the MLS-centric Real Estate Industry).

Which side of your industry do you belong to?

Are your industry’s actions characterized by protectionist moves or out-of-the-box growth strategies? Are you working crazy to whack-a-mole new competitors or are you licking your chops and slaying the sacred fat cows of inefficient old generation companies?

I remember the key lesson of the economic hiccup of 2001: it forced smart companies to accelerate their transformation plans to get smarter i.e. more competitive and it gave the ax to fat slob companies that struggled to deliver serious value.

You need to be the 1.0 of the new industry

The CD-based music industry is essentially dead and they’re getting steamrolled by the mp3 music industry with places like iTunes or IMO innovative sites like Pandora which are game-changers if anything. The old guard had a chance of course to embrace mp3 formats back in the late ’90s but instead they chose to attempt to protect their untenable position. The rest is history. There will be a new music industry, but it sure won’t be the 2.0 of the old industry. It will be 1.0 of the new industry.

Let go

Know what side you’re on. And if you’re on the side fighting for its life, jump over to the side that’s licking its chops at the huge growth opportunities ahead. Remember what drove Anakin to the Dark Side: holding on. Do what Yoda advised: Let go what you want to hold onto the most.