How to build a business in the age of ‘indivisibility’

Mark Sigal | Gigaom

With an ailing economy where manufacturing jobs are gone forever, what hope does America have? Mark Sigal of Unicorn Labs says companies—and our country—can prosper again only by embracing a unified approach to business, or an ethos of Indivisibility.

“It was the worst of times. It was the best of times.” – Un-Dickens

There is a looming sense, a dark narrative that America’s best days are behind it. Why? A clash of civilizations. A sense in many pockets of the country that we are living in a time of anomie, inequity and worry.

Everywhere you look, there is disaster. At ground zero are the remnants of a 100-year flood known as the 2008 financial crisis; it’s a flood that never completely receded.

Put another way, whether you are politically right or left, believe in trickle down or trickle up,  the hard truth is that there are few catalysts for significant job growth in America right now.

Take a look at that one great wonder and power of our age, broadband internet. In many ways it has been an engine of growth and created whole new industries. Yet it has also set off a wave of painful disruption, through the triumvirate forces of:

  • Digitization: Anything that can be turned into bits, will be.
  • Globalization: Where location can be rendered moot, it will be.
  • Commoditization: When bits and logistics can commoditize, they will.

In its wake it has permanently broken or even destroyed multiple industries. In fact, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows quite clearly how such industries that were rocking and rolling prior to broadband are now sucking wind, including electronics stores, book stores, electronic components, employment services and information services, to name a few.

Less obvious, but equally troubling, is the fact that when these industries break it also disrupts the ecosystems that surround them as well, cascading in a domino effect. Here’s how it works: When an industry like print media goes sideways, not only do publishers and the employees housed within them go away, but so too do printers, production houses, delivery trucks, book stores, newsstands, book reviewers, sales reps and publicists. Worse, this hits regional hubs especially hard. And we now know those jobs are not coming back. Ever.

The immutability of this dynamic hearkens to a signature line in Oliver Stone’s ever timely, ‘Wall Street,‘ when broken trader Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) asks corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), “Why do you need to wreck this company?” Gekko retorts, “Because it’s wreckable, all right?”

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