You can’t out “Wal-Mart” Wal-Mart. And you can’t compete with Amazon or McDonald’s.
They have what they do down to a science: measure for productivity and accuracy to become a little faster and a little cheaper.
Henry Ford perfected it. He went out and said “Come work for me. And instead of making 50 cents per day, I’ll pay you $5 per day.”
For a while, this made us all very rich. Particularly the factory owners. But it doesn’t anymore. And quite frankly, it isn’t a good deal either.
Here is what’s changed: the means of production are no longer controlled by those who own the factory. We saw it 500 years ago with the printing press. Scribes lost their job and power shifted from the professional scribe to the amateur presser. And we saw it recently with the music industry. (Remember when the record labels were bringing families to court over pirating.)
It is self-preservation. And it happens when we can amaturize an industry – “Professionals”, factory owners, and scientists lose control.
Scribes were scientists. Henry Ford was a scientist. Record Execs were scientists. And they were all very good at inserting money at one end of the machine and having profit spit out on the other. Tinkering with it to squeeze more profit.
However, the demand for scientists are gone. Because at some point it can’t get any faster or cheaper. (Think about messaging: from horse to train to phone to fax to email to IM.) What we need are more artists to change the status-quo, to raise the bar. Wal-mart is no longer remarkable. It doesn’t cause us to stop and cross the street.