Digital Disruption and Fried Chicken


My friends at Forrester Research invited me to a dinner last Tuesday night featuring James McQuivey, Ph.D., the author of the book Digital disruption

The event was held at Southern Art restaurant in Buckhead.  Since I work at the Terminus building right down the street, this was super convenient for me.  Plus, I’ve been wanting to try Southern Art since it opened.  I’ve heard great things about their buttermilk fried chicken.  I do consider myself a bit of a fried chicken afficianado but I do recognize that it’s not the healthiest food you can eat.  I made sure to work extra hard in my Flywheel class eariler that morning so I could indulge without guilt.

The attendees at the event were mostly senior level execs who work in the digital space from many of the large companies around Atlanta – Cox, IHG, Delta, Coke, Home Depot, Georgia Pacific, AutoTrader.  There were some good discussions over dinner about which company had the worse CMS platform.  It’s encouraging to see that we’re not the only ones struggling with our online presence.

I did end up getting the friend chicken as my main course.  It was really, really good.  Perfectly fried and so tender on the inside.  I always thought that JCT Kitchen had the best fried chicken in Atlanta.  I think Southern Art’s chicken might be just a little bit better.  But, you don’t read this blog for my food reviews, so let’s move on to the marketing content.

Eat your heart out KFC.

Eat your heart out KFC.

After the main course, James McQuivey made his presentation.  Here are some of my key takeaways:

  • Disruption can happen in any category:  James started the presentation talking about the transition from waiting lines at a bank branch to using ATMs to depositing checks with your mobile device.  His point was that disruption can really happen anywhere in any category.  The key is to find some unmet need and then develop a solution that meets it.
  • Adoption can start slow, but then happens at a rapid pace: Sometimes when you come up with a disruptive idea, it takes time to gain mass adoption. But, there will be a tipping point. The example is the original iPod which had relatively slow adoption.  But when the iPad launched, adoption happened 80 times faster than the iPod.  There are currently about 125 million iPads in circulation.
  • Companies are not ready for digital disruption: James’ research showed that 65% of companies recognize the need for digital disruption.  But, only 38% believe they have the skills within their organizations to really create and execute disruptive ideas.  Furthermore, only 24% beileve their companies have the  processes and business practices to adapt to change.  That means companies will have to find new ways to work in order to compete in the future.
  • Focus on customer needs: My favorite line of the night was, “Don’t build the future.  Build the next thing people want and let the future find you.”  Good advice.  Often times, marketers focus too much on the next big thing – mobile, social, content, etc.  The fact is, we need to focus less on the hot trends and more on the customer.

It was a great event.  Big thanks to Forrester for the invite.  Looking forward to the next dinner.

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