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Disruptive Innovation

I have never read such scathing criticism of any theory before. Read this excellent article by Jill Lepore on the theory of disruptive innovation and Clayton M Christensen. Even though the articles generally span several pages, I love reading The New Yorker for it introduces me to very interesting lines of thought. This could have been used by Jill Lepore as yet another example for tearing apart the theory of disruptive innovation. In the age of publishing where "articles" with more photos than words are getting increasingly popular, The New Yorker is still thriving while continuing to produce real articles that are often page-turners.

Here is an excerpt that will give you an idea of the tone of the article:
Disruptive Innovation is a theory about why businesses fail. Its not more than that. It doesn't explain change. Its not a law of nature. Its an artifact of history, an idea, forged in time; its the manufacture of a moment of upsetting and edgy uncertainty. Transfixed by change, its blind to continuity. It makes a very poor prophet. 
The upstarts who work at startups don't often stay at one place for very long. They work a year here, a few months there - zany hours everywhere. They wear jeans and sneakers and ride scooters and share offices and sprawl on couches like Great Danes. Their coffee machines look like dollhouse-size factories.
They are told that they should be reckless and ruthless. Their investors, if they're like Josh Linkner, tell them that the world is a terrifying place, moving at a devastating pace. His job appears to be to convince a generation of people who want to do good and do well to instead learn remorselessness. Forget rules, obligations, your conscience, loyalty, a sense of the commonwealth. If you start a business and it succeeds, Linkner advises, sell it and take the cash. Don't look back. Never pause. Disrupt or be disrupted.
This describes the popular sentiment today where every second person wants to startup or work for one, build a half-decent product, generate a lot of hype around it, acquire a big customer (paying or otherwise), and sell it to the highest bidder.

This sentiment is echoed by investors as well, be they venture capitalists, or banks, or even laymen. The first thought is towards exit strategy. Even before the product has moved from conceptualization to implementation. With little (or no) thought spared for building a product that thrives over time, makes a difference to lives of people.
 
 

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