In last year's hit film "Arrival," there was a fundamental misunderstanding between aliens and humans over the words "weapon" and "tool," with the fate of the world balancing precariously upon semantics.
Out here in the real world, the fate of enterprises big and small hang on understanding the power of technology: For some — those with difficulty adapting — technology is a dangerous weapon, a persistent and evolving threat that ultimately disrupts a company's future. For others — the ones with vision, nimbleness and adaptability — technology is the tool that unlocks new opportunities for growth and value creation.
Understanding these nuances has never been more important than right now: A company's life cycle today is dramatically compressed. According to Innosight, in the 1920s, companies lasted an average of 67 years on the S&P 500; by 1965, the average lifespan was 33 years; by 1990, 20 years; and now, the forecast is by 2026, 14 years.
More from Recode:
Sweetgreen's Jonathan Neman and Glossier's Emily Weiss are coming to Code Commerce
NBC has 30 employees working on a daily news show exclusively for Snapchat
This is how the 'Game of Thrones' budget and audience compares with other big network blockbusters
Taking this to the extreme: Imagine for a moment the incredible headlines disruptive companies like Snap, Uber and Facebook are generating today. Flash-forward just 10 short years from now, and these brands — and others like them — could be relics of the past. Crazy, right?
The implications of this are tectonic. Even as the human race has relied on technology, innovation and research to achieve major strides in longevity, companies have suffered dramatic declines in durability. At a macro level, this means greater volatility as market leadership changes hands more frequently. At a micro level, this means companies will need to revisit how they think about everything from strategic planning to investment horizons to executive tenure. Reinvention, it seems, will be just as important as invention.
Companies that sustain will need to be able to harness seven forces that have come to dominate the new physics of business. These forces are: