How to Become a Disruptor

March 23, 2017 | Raj Srivastav

Disruption Innovation is the fancy pants term people like to use when referring to new technologies or systems. More precisely, this term is applied when the new technology or system enters into and, well, disrupts an existing market. Recently, disruption has become a byword of Silicon Valley experts – to the point where it’s usage now generally induces laughter.

But no one laughs at how much money Mark Zuckerberg has made. No one laughs at the fact that Twitter has revolutionized communication. Even more disruptive innovations include the iPhone and even the Internet itself. Disruptive innovations change the world, in ways that no one can predict.

The one thing you can predict is that when a past system is overthrown, there is money to be had. New systems require new ways of thinking, new support networks, and new problems. The early stages of a new innovation are a breeding ground for startups and entrepreneurs, but only the best adapted will survive to Facebook proportions of success.

The other thing about disruption is that it tends to occur around times of intense technological evolution – such as we are experiencing today. For obvious reasons, rapidly advancing technology has a habit of upending old ways – some bad, some good. For this reason, startups that use new technological innovations can be wildly successful.

But tech can be applied in all sorts of industries, in all sorts of ways. The rest of this post will take a look at some of the companies that are harnessing tech in the most disruptive and innovative ways. Enjoy!

Tesla Cars and the Age of Automation

There is one thing in this business that is a near constant topic of conversation: AI and Automation. AI gets a lot of deserved attention – its capabilities are near endless – but the least sexy (and most useful to developers and busy people alike) is its ability to automate routine tasks.

Autonomous and Near Autonomous cars are a great example of this, because they took what is a relatively routine process (driving) and took it over. We’re only see the beginning of this right now with Tesla’s super cool autopilot, but the future is already visible in Google’s Self-Driving car. Tesla is an all around disruptive company (from engines to manufacturing processes), but the autonomous feature is the start of something new.

Self-driving cars will change the world. We’ve seen it before: combustion engine at the turn of the last century or Steam Power a few centuries before that. Like everything having to do with AI, all you need is an algorithm that is capable of collecting, analyzing, and acting in real time upon a ridiculous amount of data. Okay – it’s not simple. But fortunately for you, you’ve got a hot tip on the guys who write AI code all the time.

Home Buying and Rocket Mortgage

SDI is based in the heart of the Silicon Valley. So naturally, we are constantly talking about buying and renting homes. After all, Silicon Valley is the most expensive place to live in the US, with San Francisco typically first or second in terms of the housing market, and San Jose possibly the most expensive area (cost of living and housing vs average income) in the States.

When you combine that with a massive population boom, the housing is a hot button issue, with serious feelings on all sides. Enter Rocket Mortgage, a new tech-oriented business that uses mobile app technology to make the home buying and refinancing process simpler. Like really, really simple.

Owned by industry legend Quicken Loans, this technology makes it possible to get a mortgage in just a few minutes (generally under 10). To anyone who has ever purchased a home or thought about purchasing a home, that is mind-boggling. Just as mind-boggling is the fact that in 2016 (not all that long after it was launched), Rocket Mortgage processed over $5 billion in loan volume, making it one of the top 30 mortgage lenders nationwide.

Netflix and the Death of Cable[s]

While traditional Film and Television distribution methods were already under duress from illegal downloading, Netflix is the clear major disruptor in the field. That being said, the fact that there are so many companies disrupting this field means that it’s ripe for business and innovation – as long as you can handle a bit of stress.

Netflix started off delivering 3 DVDs (if you opted for the ‘expensive’ plan) at a time but quickly embraced streaming. Since this embrace, Netflix has upended how people consume media, even becoming a media creator of great renown in its own right. Netflix is now a global brand, making billions of dollars a year (almost $3 billion gross in 2016). All it took was taking advantage of new technologies.

Parting Thoughts

The answer to becoming a tech disruptor is not simple. There is no one answer nor any silver bullet. It’s about luck, determination, passion, and innovative thinking. While tech is often the vehicle for innovation, anyone can become a disruptor. SDI specializes in creating technological pathways for disruptive ideas.

You don’t even have to be a startup; Rocket Mortgage came from a well established Loans Services company. The only reason cable and film (along with the Music Recording business) took such a hit was a failure to keep up. Not only did they not respond to new, clearly better distribution models, but they doubled down and fought with all they had.

Now, every major TV channel has a Streaming platform. More and more, movies are being streamed on various platforms – at the same time they go out to theatres.

Think about it – and then give us a call at 408.805.0495/408.621.8481 (or click to contact us) to get started.

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