Can disruption in Television ever happen?

TV, television, savio rebelo, savio rebelo kumon, savio rebelo resigns, savio rebelo coo
Old Television with rabbit-ear antenna

Probably the majority of TV viewers like the way things are and don’t want change.  I think the reason TV disruption on a massive scale hasn’t occured is because it is driven more by the content of programming rather than technology of the delivery. 

Also, the majority of TV viewers aren’t technology savvy.  If someone keeps that in mind, TV disruption could occur.


“Inmates running the Asylum” – Lessons from El Pueblito

A scene from the 2011 Mel Gibson movie: Get the Gringo

Some time back, I watched the Mel Gibson movie “Get the Gringo.” wherein he is sent to the fictional El Pueblito prison.  The prison is run by the prisoners themselves.  Though amusing, I could not comprehend that such a thing actually existed anywhere in the world.

Doing a little research, I found that El Pueblito was a real-life prison built in 1956 in Tijuana, Mexico, as part of an experiment where researchers, wanting to help inmates readjust to life in the outside world after serving their sentence, allowed their families to stay with them.   Over the years, this flexible arrangement was abused and some of these inmates began ruling over the prison.

The El Pueblito, model-prison-turned-law-enforcement nightmare was effectively destroyed about eleven years back on August 20, 2002.  On that day, approximately 2,000 law-enforcement officers stormed the facility to transfer many prisoners to other institutions, evict entire families that lived at El Pueblito and begin the destruction of hundreds of homes and businesses that had been built in the prison patio.

Things probably got out of hand at El Pueblito and a well intentioned controlled experiment went haywire.  I am not sure if anyone went back and researched on the lessons learned from the El Pueblito experiment.

CNN carried the following news feature on August 04, 2013:

The Washington Post was the first to carry a news report about the Honduras prison system on August 02, 2013 based on a Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, report released the same day.  The President of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, called it an “unacceptable situation.”

Maybe the situation in Honduras was a unique one.  But this may just be another example of a trend that’s increasing across countries in the world.

Costs of incarceration have increased in the United States and all over the world, and continue to rise.  Private prisons have come into existence in quite a few countries. Governments keep trying to find ways to curtail prison costs with little success.

Is this be a disruptive trend? Could it just be a matter of time before government run prison systems or private ones give way to prisons run by the inmates themselves?

“Picture on the Wall” syndrome and the failure to see the writing on the wall


I had just moved into a new role in franchise operations replacing a veteran executive who had moved on elsewhere.  Devoid of any sort of transition into the role, I had to learn the ropes all by myself.  I decided to first visit many of the company’s franchise stores.  Despite the arduous task, I got an opportunity to see, first-hand, what was really going on where the rubber meets the road.  I met with many franchisees and their customers during my visits.

On one of those trips, I met a long-time franchisee who was of the opinion that the company was resistant to change in order to adapt to the new business environment. The conversation was very enlightening.  He was a former investment banker who had made a career change into franchising.  He had formed an opinion based on his experiences saying, “every time I made suggestions, they pointed to the picture on the wall.”

I am sure many of us have had a “picture on the wall” moment in our careers when people, afraid to move beyond  traditions, dismiss new ideas saying, “traditionally we have not done that,” or “if the founder were alive, he wouldn’t have done that.”

A scene from the movie Coming to America beautifully describes such a moment:

[After the royal family leaves the Waldorf Astoria]

King Jaffe Joffer: [smiling] You’re still not speaking to me.
Queen Aoleon: I only want our son to be happy.
King: So do I. Come now, it is out of our hands, she told him no.
Queen: Well after the way you treated her, who could blame her?
King: Even if she agreed, they still could not marry, it is against the tradition.
Queen: Well, it is a stupid tradition!
King: Who am I to change it?
Queen: I thought you were the King?

Leaders who lead-by-nostalgia, more often than sometimes, are blinded and fail to notice disruptive changes on the horizon.  I think by pointing to the “picture on the wall,” many fail to see the “writing on the wall.”

History has chronicled the demise of businesses, which were once plagued by the “picture on the wall” syndrome.  Many of them could have been saved, had the people leading them gone beyond the past, noticed disruptive trends, acknowledged their implications, and strategically prepared themselves for the future.