Data analytics: Are taxicabs the new Polaroid?

And what does this have to do with credit unions?

Polaroid is a MBA business school classic case study of a company whose management was blindsided by innovation, even when indicators were present, but ignored. Polaroid’s peak employment was 21,000, and by the late 1990s Polaroid was a top seller of digital cameras; its peak revenue was $3 billion in 1991. But other digital cameras flooded the market, its film sales plummeted, and Polaroid declared bankruptcy in 2001.

Blockbuster is another classic case study of being blind to innovation. Going to a blockbuster store and picking out a rental video was a Friday or Saturday night tradition for many households. But Netflix’s adoption of putting DVDs in the mail, replaced with streaming and on-demand content was what finally put Blockbuster away.

The taxi industry has not made it to business school case study of failures, but its getting close. The taxi industry in the U.S. generates $19 billion annually, employs approximately 409,000 people, and is quickly shrinking. Taxi companies in San Francisco and Bethesda, A DC suburb, have declared bankruptcies. People prefer ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to waiting outdoors in a taxi queue, or trying to hail a moving vehicle with a certain wave of the hand. As a result, many loans secured by taxi medallions which were once worth up to a million dollars, have been written off.

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