How Disruptive Is Your Product?

Some say that a new product should be very disruptive.  But How Disruptive Should Your Product Be?  Most VCs and executives will not invest in products that are so disruptive that major changes in the way of doing business are required (of the ultimate end user; or of intermediaries).

How Disruptive Is Your Product?

The idea is to create some disruption; but not too much.  Unfortunately, there is no easy way to achieve consensus on how much disruption is appropriate.

As an example of the complexity of perceptions that are involved, a few years before Skype launched, a somewhat similar offering was launched.  It failed.  One of its investors later said “Being early is the same as being wrong”.  So, some would say that the failed offering was too disruptive.  Others would say it was launched before its window of opportunity was open.  Others would say that the changes in the way of doing business required of the user were perceived as being too large in comparison to the perceived benefits.  A few years later they were perceived differently.

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2 Responses to How Disruptive Is Your Product?

  1. In Hitech; most think that a product must be disruptive to be a success. However launching publicly observable, disruptive products is high risk, as are most aspects of entrepreneurship. Regarding promotion, you desire a very ‘disruptive’ product, to gain the most attention (effect) while maintaining a positive view (risk). On the other hand, concerning the product itself, disruption is necessary for users to find value in the product in comparison to others, as it is creating more disruption, and in turn, the product is more ‘out there’. I believe this value greatly effects a product, but every target market has its limits, and you should know them before you develop your product’s public view. So, how do you choose the right level of disruption for your product?

    • In some cases, the key to finding this balance is communicating benefit. If the benefit is clear, then not every boss is the pointy-haired guy from Dilbert who insists on doing things the way they’ve always been done. People are more willing to take a chance if they see a) what the horizon is, and b) you’re competent to get them there.

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