I’m convinced that complacency poses one of the most serious threats to any business. Companies so intent on staying the course that they don’t hear the footsteps behind them pay a high price for misguided satisfaction. Photographic film companies didn’t fully appreciate the threat created by digital photography, and probably even less that it would come from smartphones. Newspapers dependent on classified ads didn’t react proactively to online sites like Craigslist. Movie rental companies didn’t react fast enough to streaming companies like Netflix.

The story is almost always the same. Winners become also-rans, and eventually case studies, because it was easier to keep doing the things that made them winners in the first place. The ...

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