I've been thinking a lot about the disruption tomorrow may bring. Most industries have already experienced more disruption than we have, so there has been much attention paid to potential disruption of our business in recent years.

Disruption takes place when the interface between a customer and a product provider is changed radically. Much of the disruption that has captured headlines is technology based. Think Uber, Airbnb or Tesla. Technology is just an enabling factor in disruption. The real point of disruption is the interface — the communications channel that brings customers closer to providers of products and services. The product or service itself is unchanged.

People want transportation from one place to another. Uber makes that happen. The interface is new, but what it does for people has not changed at all. But by changing the ability of a customer to summon transportation on demand, Uber has changed the economics underlying the service. Customers like the convenient process, but also the favorable pricing made possible by using in-place resources. Thus, the Uber disruption is one of communication between provider and customer, abetted by a distinct pricing advantage: resource management is much more efficient when it requires less capital.

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