Here’s one example. I upgraded my iPhone 3GS to an iPhone 4 at an Apple Store in Las Vegas. However, they were out of clear plastic protecters for the screen. A nearby Best Buy didn’t have them either. A search online found some, and pricing was generally about $18 for a package of three (the same as Apple and Best Buy) although some were much more.
Finally, I went to the Cedar City UT Walmart on a whim, assuming they couldn’t possibly have them if the Apple store and Best Buy didn’t. Wrong. Not only did Walmart have them, their price was $9 for three.
Coincidentally, Ritholtz discusses The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business by Umair Haque (and embeds the first chapter) which mentions Walmart, among others.
Haque discusses slowing growth in developed countries, a shift he terms far more significant than any crisis or crash. In these mature economies, disruptive technologies are what will thrive in the 21st century.
The key is the development of “philosophies” that create value rather than “strategies” that extract value.
The book describes some of the surprising companies embracing this: Walmart (sustainability), Nike (design principles to reduce waste and maximize recycling), Lego (Crowd sourcing), Google (liberating data), Tata (new category of car) Apple (new categories of gadgets) Nintendo’s Wii (new form of video games)
Umair seeks to provoke the thought process, challenge your complacency, stimulate your creativity.
Disruptive technologies are of equal importance in a socialist or semi-socialist economy too.
PS Walmart announces healthy food initiatives. They plan to decrease the cost of healthy food and make it more available, reduce salt by 10%, sugar by 25%, and eliminate industrial trans fats in their foods by 2015. Because they have such huge buying power, suppliers who want their food in Walmart will comply.
They also are adamant about cutting down the amount of packaging in products and played a major role in making compact florescent light bulbs a mainstream product.
(Yes, I know their health care plans for employees are inadequate and that they think unions are the anti-Christ.)