Flashback to Web’s Impact on American Business

As part of the preparation for a recent presentation, I pulled together research on the Web’s impact to the Fortune 100. Our belief is that social media will be as disruptive as the web for a number of reasons; which will each have their own posts over the next several weeks;

  • Addresses some of the challenges with search engines
  • Represents a shift from intellectual driven purchase management to a more emotional model
  • Provides contextualization for  people to organize information based upon personal lenses
  • Represents the transition from static information management to a more dynamic model (only going to accelerate)
  • Evolving to enable people to address the challenges of information overload; ie. inbox, search, communications, etc. Social media will enable people to begin to sort through the morass of information. (Yes, it is contributing to the challenges today, but the tools are emerging to assist in attacking these problems in unique ways.)

So, as part of our research, we looked at the Fortune 100 lists from each decade going back 40 years. Amazing statistics… you can see the impact the personal computer had on business and then astoundingly, how much impact the web had… Over 60% of the largest companies in the US were eclipsed in one decade… some came back to the list, but I don’t think you could minimize the disruption to American business. And yes, if you had asked the business leaders of those businesses, who had just seen the PC revolution, on how the web would impact their business, most scoffed…. “fad, not useful, don’t get it, waste of time, etc…” sound familar?

Comparison of the Fortune 100 lists from 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009

§1969 to 1979 – 15 new companies entered the Fortune 100 list
§1979 to 1989 – 29 new companies
§1989 to 1999 – 62 new companies
§1999 to 2009 – 29 new companies
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