Disrupting Us - A story template for business disruption

Mary Meeker's 2014 Internet Trends was just released and is chock full of great information. Remixing some of her slides, I've created this short presentation that you can use to describe what disrupting your business will look like. Because let's face it, everyone's business will be disrupted by the internet and mobile; if it hasn't already, it's only a matter of time.

Two other notes:

  • It's short: this is intended to be a part of a larger presentation, e.g. roadmap, strategy development, or market analysis.
  • It's punchy: these slides are intended to be one-minute (or less) slides that lead up to a punchline.

Send me a note if you'd like to talk about what the punchline might be for your business; or if you'd like some help developing a set of slides that would extend beyond this.


Disrupting Us

In our lifetime, the internet has changed the way people buy and use our services. Beyond this, what we're seeing is a near total disruption of all forms of business: often completely different business models enabled through the mobile internet.

This is a story of the disruption of us.

"The internet has and will continue to have a bigger impact on our generation, than rural electric lighting had for our grandparents."

Software is eating the world. In almost everything we do, almost everything we use, software was either involved with making it, shaping it, or replacing it. We know this; and by evidence of these charts, the markets know this too.

Noteworthy is that the only two other industry verticals that have grown (as a percentage of the whole) over the past two decades are Finance and Healthcare. 

This highlights the third component that's driving business disruption. We can all agree that the internet has driven widespread disruption. We can all agree that supercomputers shrinking into our pockets have driven disruption. But the third, not-to-be-missed factor in today's disruptive economy, is ease of access to capital. It has never been easier in the history of civilization for an unproven business to gain capital: often without revenue for years.

Mobile is increasingly a broader term with the introduction of tablets and their incredible adoption rate. No longer can we think of mobile disruption as only smartphones.

Over the last 25 years, computing costs have decreased from $527 per 1 million transactions to less than 5 cents; storage costs have decreased from $569 per gigabyte to less than 2 cents; and bandwidth follows a similar pattern.

The modern home today increasingly has a personal device for every person - plus additional screens for both general purpose and specific use. The same can be said of the modern office. What we can count on, in the future, are more screens, not fewer.

More ways to interact with our customers, not fewer.

Beyond screen proliferation, we're also seeing device proliferation. That small blue sliver labeled "Wearables" is the space to watch as the harbinger of another significant change in how we do business. 

These disruptive forces have given license for new and novel entrants to reimagine the world.

Tinder today is a complement, and in many cases, replacement for traditional dating.

Daily, more than 800 million swipe are occurring - kind of like a "like" or "dislike" - resulting in over 11 million matches.


Raise your hand if you have a phone book in your office or at home. Now keep them up if you've used it in the last six months.

Today, the internet provides that information more quickly.

Less common in the corporate setting (so far), Airbnb has introduced a simple way to rent out your home. In 2014, over 4 million "guests" stayed in locations all over the world. To accommodate this, they've opened 11 new offices to help serve these local markets.

They are a clear example of "think global, act local".

Uber's value proposition to the weary traveler is simple, "Why wait for an unknown time for a possibly beat up cab, when you can see - actually see on the map - a black car blocks away?" And for not much more than the cab ride would have been.


It used to be easier in that we could think of disruption coming from the smartphone revolution.

But now, disruption comes in many forms: data analytics, pervasive personalization, devices with specialized data capture capability, smart tvs, smart devices, smart "you name it".

The question then, is not when will we be disrupted, but how will we be disrupted.

The only way to predict the future is to make it. Since disruption is inevitable, it might as well be us that causes the disruption to our own business; rather than waiting for someone else to.

[Obviously, I can't write this rest of this slide for you. The concept is for you to share a picture of the product or service you provide today. Next, talk to the audience about what that looks like as a reimagining through the disruptive force of the mobile internet.

Don't be fooled that because you have an app for your business or a responsive design website, that you've somehow staved off disruption. Disruption isn't using the mobile internet, it's adopting a completely different business model and relationship with your customers because of it.

And if you don't, someone else will.]



Meeker's report seems to be more controversial than in past years. This HBR post asserts that the format is dated and that worse the information is now dated - a year is just too long. Maybe that's true, but the report still packs a whallop. And the audacity of a report that's attempting to cover the entirety of the internet is exactly what I love about it.