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Reality Distortion in Business July 28, 2010

Posted by David Dirks in business strategy.
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I’m about to launch a column series (www.recordonline.com and go to the business section) on a subject not often written about but often seen in almost any size business.  It’s the natural phenomenon of reality distortion.  It happens when we think our business is performing or functioning one way but reality points to another direction.  It happens more often that most think possible.

Another great example of almost an entire industry with major reality distortion is the book publishing industry.  Late to the table in the digital world (like much of publishing in general), book publishers are still in denial of the coming of the e-book.  Note this in the 7/20/10 issue of The Wall Street Journal where it was reported that

“Amazon, Inc. said it reached a milestone, selling more e-books than hardbacks over the past three months.”

And then this, from the same article from one of the world’s largest publishers, Bertelsmann AG:

“Our conclusion is that there’s no data to prove any connection – good or bad – between the growth in e-books and the growth or decline in trade paperback sales…”

Ah…wait a minute.  E-book sales at the worlds largest distributor of books exceeded hardcover sales and you don’t think there’s any data here?  Oh..that light you see at the end of the tunnel Mr. Publisher, is the freight train about to hit you.  This is reality distortion of the worst kind.

How can all those smart people be so slow witted to catch on to what the digital age is doing to their business?  Did they learn anything about business disruption from the music industry?  Apparently not.