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Something To Sleep On Newsletter from 04/08/2018

Quote I am Pondering: “This is the age of disruption.” – Sebastian Thrun

You Blink … You Lose

Do you have the next needle in a haystack? If you think you do, experience suggests that if you don’t move quickly …. you could be sitting in a pile of rust wondering what happened.

In some of my prior articles, I’ve written about how change seems to be occurring at warp speed. You could have a great idea and before the business plan is complete, it has been disrupted or leapfrogged … and you end up staring at a computer screen with useless data.

That’s why an agile approach to strategy is critical. It’s also why, if you have a great idea, you need to vet it quickly.   If it really is the next breakthrough disruptor, the “needle in a haystack”, you’d best get it in front of potential buyers sooner rather than later. Hyperbole??  Let’s look at what recent history tells us.

This is an example of technology adoption curve, a concept introduced by Everett Rogers many years ago.

You’ve probably seen this or a similar curve before.   This one is courtesy of Paulo Caroli.  Disrupters get new innovations in front of early adopters, those prospective buyers who see the potential in, and are willing to take the risk of, adopting new products. Not only are they important to vetting the new product in the market; they also become evangelists to the early majority of buyers who are critical to achieving market traction and growth.

A companion curve is the S-curve that shows the years it took for different inventions to penetrate the market in a significant way. An example is shown here.

We live in an age of unprecedented acceleration of innovation and market penetration. It took five years for the Internet to be adopted by a quarter of the US market. Contrast that with the TV, which took almost 25 years … or the automobile, which took six decades. And today, innovations are penetrating the market even faster … that is assuming the innovations truly “have legs” and the inventor gets them in front of buyers quickly. And by the way, this applies as much to existing firms striving for market relevance in an ever-changing world as it does to start-ups.     You blink … you lose.

Are You a Disrupter or a Disruptee?

You may be interested in this piece by Anand Sanwal. The “money quote” is from Alex Rampell, “The battle between every startup and incumbent comes down to whether the startup gets distribution before the incumbent gets innovation.”

What steps are you taking to ensure that you innovate and get your innovations in front of prospective buyers quickly … so you’re not left in the dust of disruption, shaking your head?

For over thirty years, Mike has been actively involved, as a coach, entrepreneur, scientist, business executive and management consultant, in the areas of executive leadership, organizational development and change management, strategic planning and execution, and financial analysis. He has provided strategic, operational and financial leadership to small and medium-sized firms, as well as Fortune 500 companies and large government organizations, in a broad range of industries. Mike holds BS and PhD degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and has had additional training in finance and accounting, strategic planning and management, leadership development, and succession planning, from various top-tier institutions.

Mike Cobb

Mike has provided strategic, operational and financial leadership to small and medium-sized firms, as well as Fortune 500 companies and large government organizations, in a broad range of industries.

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