Exasperation at new business models not fooling anyone

Free market enterprise is the order of the day, and at its very core, is competition. This is the capitalist, and entrepreneurial system we live by.

It’s also a system which by nature creates winners and losers. Not surprisingly, it’s those same winners who are usually the loudest cheerleaders of the whole shebang.

Yet whenever a new company or concept comes around which challenges the status quo, it’s those same proponents of capitalism who suddenly aren’t so pleased with the system.

I just returned from a trip to the USA, and while abroad I took full advantage of a number of new startups.

Staying with AirBnb hosts (whereby people rent our either rooms or their whole apartment or house) I was accommodated in comfortable and homely lodgings. With the added benefits of the full amenities of a home, like free access to washing facilities and even a friendly pooch – it’s more akin to staying with friends rather than in ‘accommodation’.

To get around, I found it cheaper and easier to use UberX instead of hailing or calling taxis. The easy-to-use app allows users a real-time view of exactly how far away the taxi is, as well as integrated payment linked to your credit card. No cash or cards need to change hands.

Whilst on long-haul bus trips, I enjoyed using Netflix – the internet streaming service where TV programs and movies are available to viewers on-demand.

The aforementioned companies have all completely disrupted the hotel, taxi and cable television industries – much to the wailing of the incumbents.

Just this week, the Foxtel boss and consumer-advocacy group Choice became embroiled in heated debate about the former’s so-called ‘outdated business model’.

The point of this little recount is to say that every time a CEO or corporation comes out swinging in response to competition – an inherent element of any healthy capitalist economy – I can’t help but shake my head.

Business is cutthroat. It takes innovation and resilience to survive. The road is littered with businesses that were outrun in the pace of change. The irony is that big business knows this just as much as the small guys – but too often they’re just unwilling to admit the times have changed.

 

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