Today, you cannot find a world-class high jumper who doesn’t do the Fosbury Flop. One moment it was one thing; the next, it would never be the same.
I was pondering these kinds of events as I wrote my post on Henry Leland (The Prophet of Quality)--how suppliers and competitors could not believe what he was able to do with quality and interchangeable parts in 1908 on that British test track, but afterwards, if they did not do it as well, they could not compete.
Here’s a small one with big implications: In 1970 or 80 or 90, if someone stood up on an airplane and started causing trouble, most of us put our head down in our books and let the flight attendants handle things. Now, after 9/11—one of the silver linings, I suppose—if someone stands up on a plane and starts causing trouble, the entire plane stands up and duct tapes him or her to a seat. There’s no hesitation. We’ve learned the hard way that there’s no protection like self-protection. One day changed everything.