Another Gaping Void nails it. Full piece here, though they don’t use the phrase 'business bifurcation'.
For a long time, it has been clear that business is bifurcating. The two models are either;
the 'pile-em-high-and-sell-em-cheap' model to borrow from Tesco's Jack Cohen's business strategy
the 'totally-high-end-special-and-niche' model - think $20 dollar pints of beer, $300 bottles of wine, handcrafted artisan wafers ...
Gaping Void's piece brings you right up to date with stories form Saville Row - a set of businesses you might expect to fail in thelight of (say) Brookes Brothers collapse. But no - business bifurcation.
To be fair - those high-end examples aren't the only way to be in that niche space. Business that scale and deliver low price, do so at the cost of service, value, the personal touch, sometimes quality ...
If you are a small business - don’t wonder how to compete with Amazon ... work out how to differentiate from Amazon. What worked 20, 30 years ago - still works. It's just that the 'what' is different.
And the first 'what' is 'what business are you in'. It might not be what you think. The business you are in is your 'core'. Everything else is context. (To borrow from my 'old' friend Geoffrey Moore.)
After a few decades stumbling around the topic, two things became clear. - You have to change the way business thinks if you want to change how it works. - If businesses change how they work they can change how their audiences think.
I had to reply - of course, and I did, but it felt substantial enough to include here - flip though the first sentence was.
You might imagine that I won’t argue too much - except to say that businesses not only won’t think - they can’t. It’s the people in those businesses that do the thinking.
We then have to ask - if what needs to happen is so clear to so many people, (judging by everything that you read), then why doesn’t it change?
My friend (Daniel Szuc) in Hong Kong has observed that when at work people are essentially in the mode of sleepwalking … and related to that, see their roles defined in the organizational boxes - and rarely look outside that box … ‘not my job’.
One question …. “if not you … if not now … if not ….” you know how it goes.
Seperately Venkatesh Rao developed a simple model a while back where he mapped the 4 forces of nature to his own 4 forces of humanity, drawing comparison between the relative strengths and reach of each force. He mapped business to gravity.
I take it a step further - unlike the 4 natural forces - the 4 forces of humanity are not givens. It is in our power to change any of them.
It used to be Wall Street and Main Street. Now it's Wall Street versus Main Street.
When you read all the analysis, what can I add, other than connecting the articles to a story that highlights the challenges society faces through this pandemic. The stories are new, the underlying themes are not. I have been talking about them for a couple of years. What is new is that they are getting broader attention. Amplification.
Now we need to do something about it. Before we fall back into the ‘normal’. Or worse - accept a ‘new’ normal, because that is ‘just the way it is’.