So, the UK has woken up to, yet another, casualty on its high street. While the US is still sobbing into their glucose monitors at the loss of Twinkies, the UK is waving goodbye to suburban town centre identikit stalwarts such as camera retailer Jessops
and CD dispenser HMV. (Thank God for Starbucks and William Hill or I'd never be able to find my way home)
Another old fashioned 'branch'-based store knocked off their perch by the consumer digital revolution, correct? Well, the staff at the Warrington branch of Jessops know exactly who to blame (and it isn't that it is easier, cheaper and more likely to find
what you want on Amazon)
Taped to the inside of the store window (next to picture of the five, soon-to-be-unemployed staffers) reads:
"At what stage will the government and banks be answerable for the devastating effect they have having on the economy and more importantly people's lives with their radical decisions?"
(Picture below - because that is where pics end up in our blogs. 'Dirk...!)
New bank and non-bank disrupters often cite the impact Amazon had on Borders and Barnes & Noble books stores when arguing their case for a complete dismantling of our old, creaky, greedy global banking system.
This point was made, yet again, in a Twitter conversion between @shamir_k (of Simple) @aden_76 (HSBC) @rshevlin (Aite Group) @jjegher (Celent) fallowing the recent New
York Times article profiling Simple.
The exceptionally lovely Shamir Karkal, one of the founders of Simple, Tweeted: "Mainly electronic businesses like banking should be more susceptible to Amazon style disintermediation." (I'd provide the screen shot, but we're only allowed one pic per blog.
Dirk*!!! *he loves it when I do that)
Of course, Shamir is talking about kicking the great, hulking legacy banks off their greedy, monopolistic perch - not making five people unemployed in the North of England. But isn't that what disruption really is? If we, as a Western Capitalist society
are in the midst of a digital consumer revolution, why can't we pick and choose which company deserves to be disrupted and which don't?
At the end of the day, it is not the banks' board of directors (or Jessops' C-Suite) that will suffer the effects of digital disruption - its people who work in the branches and those five smiling faces in a store window in Warrington. I'm no Occupy-style
liberal, but I can't think of anything less 'hip, cool and trendy' than that.
As for whether the 'banks' are to blame for the latest swath of closures on Britain’s highs streets? Maybe, maybe not. Banks, through actions they mostly brought on themselves, are the most convenient 'evil bogeyman' in which to heap most of the blame. (We’re
even hosting a special dinner debate looking at this topic next month! *plug)
However, if you are the founder of a cool, disruptive, start-up (and located in the Lancashire or Cheshire areas of England) take a look at the CVs of five people taped inside a 'soon-to-closed' shop window in Warrington.