Disintermediation, the process of removing the middleman from the purchasing cycle, became the norm as people started buying their own airline tickets instead of going through a travel agent, bought their computers from the manufacturer rather than from a reseller, and sold their attic wares in a global electronic yard sale rather than taking them to an antique or consignment store.
Competitive pressures and stock prices made change not an option or a luxury, but a necessity. Compaq and IBM dismantled huge reseller organizations to adopt a Dell-like direct sales model. Travel agencies folded. Commerce changed forever.
Say what you will about the dot-com bombs, the fact is, in just a few short years, technology changed forever the way many businesses are run and those that survived did so because they were able to embrace the technologies. Today, there are few businesses that don’t use the Internet in some form or fashion. MBA schools are stocked with case studies of businesses that failed to quickly adopt the transforming technologies around them. From Kodak and the impact of digital photography to the record business and the impact of digital music – we see examples everyday of businesses that resist the inevitability of technological progress and falter or die.