April 25, 2016

Uber, landlines, K-cups, coworking and the death of the “static quo.”

Nimble people and organizations adapt better to change, almost by definition. As an agency about to move, it’s time to examine the symptoms, signs and opportunities pivoting away from what we call the “static quo.”static quo, uber, kcups

Uber is displacing car ownership. Owning a car (especially a second car) was once a given, but ownership meant an asset that sat static and unproductive 22 hours a day. A depreciating asset, slowly turning to rust. Even in that fraction of the day when it was useful, it carried 1.2 people with 4.8 empty seats. Enter Uber and their competitors who offer efficient use-it-when-you-need-it flexibility.

Landlines. Remember landlines? Phones in static locations that you had to be nearby to use, analogous to that rusting car in the previous paragraph. Vanishing into memory like Space Food Sticks, Arsenio Hall and bipartisanship, landlines once kept a copper-wire connection between your house and the world. Your phone isn’t just mobile, it frees you to be mobile.

Wirelessness (in every sense) made landlines obsolete, but not rare. Yet.

K-cups are another manifestation of the nimble new world order. Traditional office coffee service was a binary choice: caf or decaf, with a roly-poly pot of each turning old and bitter on a two-level shrine. Today we have eleventy-many coffee choices, some of them bizarrely flavored (chocolate chip? really?) but all tailored to individual advantage – no static quo. Yes, I know, Keurig is neither economical nor green – I’m reporting, not advocating. Lighten up Francis.

Coworking fits the pattern, too. Having a static fixed place of business, with long leases, furniture ownership and a bank of servers (how very 2012!) can now be replaced by flexible month-by-month spaces, no depreciating assets and a network of locations and connections that can be used as needed. Add in cloud IT and you’ve erased geography. Nimble vs static quo, an ultimate fighting cage match! (Pro tip: bet on nimble.)

We bought into all of this, and Killian Branding will be moving to flexible coworking spaces in Chicago and Charlotte, starting June 1. Stay tuned. So, what are we going to do with 28+ years of accumulated furniture? Hey, want a conference table? We won’t need it – or desks – or even the Keurig machine.