I miss Blockbuster Video. Specifically, I miss this guy named Sam who was a cinemaphile. He introduced me to all kinds of great movies I had never heard of that turned out to be fantastic. Sam was the reason I went to Blockbuster.

Netflix didn’t kill Blockbuster (or Sam), late fees and a lack of imagination of what the store could have been did. Once you could rent the movie at home, why bother going to the store? Renting from home was easier.

I haven’t taken a taxicab in years. The last time I took a taxi was years ago in Philly. I took a one-way ride to the hotel, then over coffee the next morning my friend Dennis (there are at least two of us) asked me if I had ever heard of Uber. I downloaded the app, and the rest is history.

Uber didn’t kill the taxi business. Lack of cars, dirty cars, and uncertainty of when your cab would arrive did.

I cancelled my cable (the wire that plugs into a TV) years ago and never looked back. Netflix didn’t kill cable TV; over-control of content and greed (over billing) did. Netflix allowed me to watch what I wanted, when I wanted, and you can’t blame me for paying as little as I can to watch TV. The last time I paid cable, my bill was somewhere around $150/month. I get Netflix as part of my Xbox annual fee. It’s so little, I don’t even know what it is.

Apple didn’t kill the music business. Forcing people to buy an entire album for one song did.

Amazon isn’t killing retail. Lack of imagination and customer experience is.

Airbnb isn’t killing the hotel business. Lack of imagination and experience is.

Email didn’t kill the post office. Lack of imagination did.

The digital camera didn’t kill the photographer. Lack of imagination is.

Every one of these now struggling, upended businesses could have shifted and transformed from a service you need to an experience you want.

In the financial services industry, there are online investment services which are not-so-affectionately referred to as Robo-Advisors.

Up until now, every client you have ever had has valued you for your technical knowledge, but now they have access to the same products and knowledge for less.

The Robo-Advisor isn’t going to kill off financial advisors, a lack of imagination will.

Selling goods and services isn’t enough.

What would I have told Blockbuster Video? To turn their stores into places where people who love movies want to gather, talk and share.

What would I have told the taxi business? To quit taking their customers for granted, that a lack of choice isn’t a free pass on having a dirty car, and to start thinking about the experience they deliver, and how experiences are not services.

What would I have told the music business? For starters, that Led Zeppelin II came out in 1969 and you have more than recovered the costs of production, and you have made all kinds of money on it, and asking someone to pay you $20 in 2017 is ridiculous. Pigs eat. Hogs get slaughtered.

What would I tell a photographer? To quit taking pictures and start telling stories.

What would I tell Canada Post? To turn their post offices into coffee shops, give people a place to work and read and rent a mailbox.

What would I tell a financial advisor? To start doing the human work that a machine can’t do. Empathize. Guide. Transform.

The Robo-Advisor can earn a generous return for a very reasonable fee.

The Robo-Advisor has no idea what a meaningful life is.

That’s your opening.

 

 

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