No Ordinary Disruption

Powerful trends are forcing industries to change. Companies should pay close attention

June 2, 2016

About the author

Noam Ganel, CFA is the founder of Pen&Paper, a value-oriented, contrary-minded journal of the financial markets. Between 2010 and 2020, Ganel worked for Silvergate as Vice President in Capital Markets. He provides advisory services to family offices,  private companies, and financial advisors.

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According to the authors of No Ordinary Disruption, companies need to adapt and evolve. Without a flexible mindset and the ability to change business models, existence is at risk. Main themes throughout the reading include the importance of cities, the acceleration of technology, the erupting nature of business, the graying population, and the growing global trade. At the end of each chapter, managers are advised how to operate alongside these themes.     

The Themes

The center of trade in Western society will continue to change. Kumasi, a city in Ghana, is among the largest metropolitan areas that will become a household name. It is in cities such as Kumasi that companies should focus attention. 

Technology is accelerating at an unimagined pace. It took 15 years to sequence the first human genome, and it required a budget of $1.5 billion. Sequencing the human genome now takes three days for a price of $15,000. Companies must learn to adapt to a complex and ever-changing technological environment. 

The long-standing company’s business model is interrupted. For example, companies such as Dollar Shaving Club and Harry’s, both of which ship razor blades and cartridges to customers each month for a fixed fee, are challenging companies like Gillette. Reconstructing materials, rethinking energy, reimagining artificial intelligence, and redesigning infrastructure technology are the next industries to experience change.

Demography statistics show an increase in longevity and a decrease in population growth. Companies should allocate resources to market in a graying population. Amazon launched a new retail Initiative, the 50+ Active and Healthy Living Store, with nutrition, wellness, exercise and fitness.

Money replaced oil as the most traded asset. Rolls Royce relocated its marine business from London to Singapore to reflect Asia’s emergence as the world center for shipping. Companies should be agile and take advantage of the global flow in trade. 

No Ordinary Disruption Book Cover
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The Real Estate Connection

While trends are likely to continue, as the powerful infographics throughout the reading demonstrate, the net effect on real estate values is uncertain. An increase in purchasing power should lead to higher property values. But the cost of materials may result in an abundance of housing supply, accompanied with a decreasing population. The article on the cost approach illustrated the indirect relationship between building costs and market value.   

The ability to predict real estate values is questionable. But it is advisable to listen to the opinion of experts. Haemon, when pleading his father, King Creon, to forgive Antigone, said it best:

“I think, good as it is to have infallible wisdom, since this is rarely found, the next best thing is to be willing to listen to wise advice.”