In 2007, Christensen told Business Week that “the prediction of the theory would be that Apple won’t succeed with the iPhone,” adding, “History speaks pretty loudly on that.” In its first five years, the iPhone generated a hundred and fifty billion dollars of revenue. In the preface to the 2011 edition of “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Christensen reports that, since the book’s publication, in 1997, “the theory of disruption continues to yield predictions that are quite accurate.”
It is an axiom of our age that a good crisis is a great opportunity, and nowhere is this belief more strongly held than in our nation’s beloved tech sector. San Francisco has a housing crisis; one startup founder aims to do his part by renting his couch in return for “$900 plus, hopefully, 20-25 hours web development/mo.” America has an (un)employment crisis; maybe one company can help.
If you practice ruthless commercial Darwinism, weeding out any hopeful mutants that aren't immediately successful, you will miss out on a lot of huge opportunities.
So reforming the publishing industry is a very non-trivial undertaking.
Which is also why Jeff Bezos picked it as his #1 target when he founded Amazon. He set out to disrupt an incumbent mature industry using the internet, and picked publishing because it was obviously the most dysfunctional. After all, if he'd gone after groceries he'd be competing with sharks like Tesco and WalMart.
But the trouble with disruption is that it's dangerously close to detonation. You can end up destroying what you sought to shake up and take over.
[V]ariation among middle managers has a particularly large impact on firm performance, much larger than that of those individuals who are assigned innovative roles.
[I]t is the individuals who fill the role of middle managers – the “suits” – rather than the creative innovators that best explain variation in firm performance.
...the number of people setting up companies has nothing to do with the creation of innovative high-growth firms. Increasing the former doesn’t make the latter any more likely.
...high-growth startups rarely come from nowhere. They are usually the descendants of large firms.
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