Brian McBride: you have two choices – disrupt or be disrupted

Brian McBride: you have two choices – disrupt or be disrupted

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The message from Brian McBride, Chairman of ASOS and former CEO of was clear this morning as he addressed guest attending the opening remarks at the ICE VOX Platinum Suite: “as far as digital innovation goes, you have two choices: disrupt or be disrupted.”

The business mogul, who took the helm of Amazon for five-and-a-half years in 2006 and oversaw a period of massive growth, took the opportunity to outline what he described as “the two laws that have governed how ecommerce got to where it is today,” espousing the need for the gaming industry to embrace digital technology wholeheartedly and use it to engage with their audiences.

The first of these laws was Moore’s Law, named after Intel co-founder, Gordon Moore, who described a doubling of components every year per integrated circuit – a phenomenon that has made advancements in technology like home computers and the smartphone possible.

The second McBride described was ‘mobile first’ – citing the fact that 50% of traffic is now through mobile and referencing his own ASOS statistics that show of the 100 interactions millennials make a day on their phones, 80% of them are through apps.

McBride went on to warn of the dangers of not engaging with the technology revolution, drawing parallels with Darwin’s theory of revolution by saying it was “an inability to adapt to digital innovation that has seen “the road to disruption littered with great beasts that have fallen.” He illustrated his point with the examples of the once successful british high street chain, Woolworths, and Nokia – once “30 times the size of Apple”, but now a fraction of the size of the infamous tech giant because they missed the smartphone revolution. “An industry leader was wiped out because of an inability to adapt,” he said.

To reinforce the importance of digital, McBride highlighted some real world examples of success stories, including a bank that took three years to accrue one million online banking customers, but then achieved a further one million just three months after launching a mobile banking app, and Snapchat, the video app that now reaches 41% of 18-34 year olds in the US, compared to just 6% of the same demographic reached through 15 of the top TV networks.

“Digital is the DNA of disruption,” McBride concluded.