Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 24, 201010:05 AM

CTRL-ALT-DEL - It's Time For A Business Reboot

Maybe the Internet changed much more than we think? Maybe businesses have to reinvent not only themselves, but the entire industry they serve?

Its very survival could depend on it.

The truth of the matter is that the business world is changing. Not year by year, but moment by moment. Big business is being beat-up by two guys, a clever spin on a traditional industry, a rental lease on some garage space in Menlo Park and a couple of iPhones.

What's a business to do?

There's this great little story (no one knows how much of it true or how much of it is fiction, but here it goes): In the 1500s, Hernan Cortes was the captain of eleven ships with more than 500 soldiers headed for Mexico to conquer the Aztecs. After his ships arrived in Mexico, the sailors and soldiers were not in the best of shape. Some of them fell ill on the journey and some had lost their motivation. Several of Cortez's crewmates wondered what would happen to them in this strange new land. If they faced challenges or resistance, how would the crew return home? The crew asked Cortez what the plan would be to get back home. The captain had the perfect response: He burned the ships.

There was no going back. The only direction to go was forward. The old ways of doing things were about to be rethought.

In fact, there were no more "old ways of doing things"... a new way had to be defined. The story of Cortes and the burning of the ships ripples through to the present time. So much has changed in terms of what it means to be a business owner: the global economy, how we connect to our consumers, technology and new platforms, and the marketing and communications we create to connect more effectively with them. The new breed of entrepreneurs must burn the ships. The traditional ways just don't cut it any more.

I've modernized the concept of "burn the ships." It's time to: CTRL-ALT-DEL.

New channels, new tools and new business, like new lands, calls for new strategies, tactics and plans.

It's time to reboot business.

Hoping for innovation on the traditional quarter by quarter strategy is not going to save your business or your industry. The pace and rate of technology is at the point where these new media channels and platforms are simple for anybody to use (kids, teens, adults, boomers and older), and they're not only using them, they are creating their own experiences and sharing them with the world.

How do you compete? You CTRL-ALT-DEL.

Success is going to come from those who really analyze and implement the latest shifts and trends in business, technology and media, and how it affects their organization (from innovation and business development to marketing, PR and human resources). This concept of CTRL-ALT-DEL is not simply about "change management." CTRL-ALT-DEL is about "change business". It's about "change industry" and it's about "change business models." Zappos is more than a great example of superior customer service, iTunes is more than a great example of how to sell songs for $0.99, and Kogi BBQ is more than a great example of how to use Twitter to sell Korean BBQ tacos. They are all prime examples of how specific businesses hit the CTRL-ALT-DEL on their business model, and in the process reinvented the industry they served.

Being on Twitter, having a Facebook Page or uploading videos to YouTube is one thing: thinking about how to CTRL-ALT-DEL your business and imagining what that will look like in the next 2-5 years, is a whole other game. The tools and platforms are just that: tools and platforms. The real "game changers" are those who figure how those tools and platforms to help them to reboot their business model.

Which businesses do you love that have used the CTRL-ALT-DEL buttons on their business model?

By Mitch Joel