The Disruptors and the Disrupted


You know that online technologies are turning whole industries upside down.  Think Uber vs. the taxi industry, or Airbnb vs. hotels.  But has anybody assembled a comprehensive look at the new platforms and what are threatened by platform technologies?

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review concludes that the companies susceptible to disruption by online platforms are not manufacturing enterprises like General Motors or Coca Cola.  They tend to be matchmaker businesses that connect different groups of customers.

The article lists online platforms that are threatening traditional businesses.  Oddly enough, the list doesn’t mention how Apple’s iTunes platform has basically eliminated the music/CD industry, but it does say that Alphabet (Google), Yahoo! and Facebook, with their ad-supported search capabilities, are disrupting advertising supported media like magazines.  Amazon, meanwhile, is disrupting shopping malls and department stores.  Uber threatens the taxi and limousine companies, while Snapchat threatens traditional communications.

The conclusion?  Any business whose value comes from serving as an intermediary between manufacturers or service providers and customers has a target on its back.

About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years.  Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site:

Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association. 



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