Friday, July 27, 2007

The Tragedy that is "The Generation Gap"

No, I'm not saying that it's a tragedy if your last days of year 39 are rapidly approaching, calm down. What I am saying is that there is a disconnect that is tragic, and potentially life-threatening: between the old school and the new school.

An example is Parkinson's disease. When the brain recognizes a change in stimulus, it sends a response to the muscles to adapt to the given stimulus. In a Parkinson's patient, the brain and muscles do not adequately communicate, and thus the visible symptoms of Parkinson's result. This disconnect is just as present and life threatening in business. There comes a time in every successful business when the next generation must lead. There are definite pros and cons to this necessary progression, however that doesn't preclude the necessity of succession planning, adaptation and foresight.

There is, I believe a common misnomer surrounding the "Tech Industry." Most businesses refuse to believe that despite their Internet presence, they are not and will never be a "Tech Company." This is a fatalistic mindset that establishes an unwillingness to adapt to the very market you are working in. Basic economic principles, right? Make no mistake, if you have a website you are a "Tech Company." And if you don't have a website, you had better have a damn good local customer base.

The current upstart of Internet Wine Companies are convinced that a creative application of Internet technology will change the way wine is sold, marketed and embraced, and who is to tell them they are wrong? Apparently, making an obscene amount of money and generating enough traffic to drive a Fire Marshall crazy on a "hare-brined, internet scheme" isn't good enough. It is this ridiculous death-grip on the brick-and-mortar business practices that means a death-sentence for wishy-washy, old school tech companies. Web 1.0 happened already, and almost everybody died.

The companies that are forward-thinking are already raking in market share by being forward, and abandoning traditional models for use on the Internet. 20 and 30 somethings are buyers too. Adapt: that is the blunt message delivered to wine industry. . .by a young, outspoken New Jersey wine retailer who said the industry needs to embrace change or die. Sound familiar?