Disruptive Technology – What is it?
What is disruptive technology? It may sound like something out of an alien movie in which Martians fire a ray of energy at the Earth in order to disable our defense systems. Its true meaning, however, lies in something a lot less 2012-like – but equally exciting.
Definition of Disruptive Technology
Disruptive Technology is actually a shift in the way one particular industry conducts business. One of Google’s many disruptive technologies include its pay per click advertising program. In short, it is a game changer much like how Kevin Garnett revolutionized the power forward position in the game of basketball. Before the Ticket arrived, the power forward position was essentially an extension of the center position. They were expected to rebound the ball aggressively, play defense and provide a limited array of low post moves with mostly their backs to the basket.
Enter Kevin Garnett.
Standing at 6 foot 11 inches and sporting his trademark menacing snarl, Kevin Garnett had the size and demeanor of a typical NBA power forward. However, his ball-handling skills and agility were more of that of a guard’s. He had a reliable and unblockable (he shot the ball from behind his head) jump shot that extended his scoring range from far beyond the realm’s of the painted area. His vision opened up the rest of the floor for his team as he deftly executed passes in order to rack up assists. Opposing power forwards were puzzled by KG versatility and had immense issues in trying to defend him as they were used to defending bulkier, slower power forwards with a limited move set. KG racked up triple double after triple double as he set a new standard for power forwards in generations to come.
Disruptive technology rips into the status quo and emerges from the fray a clear victor, often taking advantage of slower moving companies and those who are too entrenched in their (previously) profit-making ways. Weaknesses are rapidly exposed and the market starts to shift in order to accomodate the newcomer.
A great example of this was the late and great Steve Jobs. When the iPod was introduced in 2001, there was already an enormous rash of MP3 players on the market. Jobs set out to create the most intuitive, beautiful and desirable MP3 player in the market and it acted as a brainchild to his fanatical demands on user interfaces, ease of use and integration with other devices. The iPod went into a developing market and forced everyone else to follow it as it gobbled up market share. It was simply 76 times easier to search for the song you want on the device and to play it immediately. Playlists and songs were effortlessly synced and the iTunes digital ecosystem gave the record companies a vicious black eye that they are still reeling from to this day.
One question that you can always ask yourself – how can I be as disruptive as possible and wreck havoc on my competitors? Take a single idea (can be a very small one), and try to solve a problem that none of your competitors can do very well. You can even take a solution that they have and make it slightly better – you may have a disruptive technology in your hands right now!
Five years ago, search engine optimization (otherwise known as SEO) was a mystical term. People heard about it in shadows and it had a connotation of being only well known by a select few. These SEO Wizards dominated search engine result pages by hidden techniques executed with ninja like stealth and precision. The price for their services for those in the know was astronomically high, but they were able to reap the benefits of increased brand recognition, search visibility and ultimately profits.
Fast forward to 2012: SEO has (almost) become a household name. Colleges around the country are starting to incorporate digital marketing into their curriculums and search engine optimization is almost always a significant part of any company’s marketing plan.