Three perspectives on disruption, and strategies for surviving it | Delaney Turner, IBM Software Blog
Is disruption the new normal? It seems like it lately, as my social feeds serve up the ongoing speculation about Apple’s future
, the devastation wrought by tropical storm Irene
and the continuing gloomy outlook for the world economy
Luckily, though, my feeds have also served up three great reads about how to manage through disruption as well. I’ve summarized them and explained why I think they’re important. Whitney Johnson: “No idea what will come next”
The first is Whitney Johnson’s post in the Harvard Business Review blog, entitled “Disrupt Yourself
.” A former investment banker, Johnson describes the risks and fear involved in walking away from a seven-figure salary to become an entrepreneur and shares the lessons she’s learned in the six years since. Briefly, they are as follows:
Marc Andreessen: “Even books are software”
- If it feels scary and lonely, you’re probably on the right track
- Be assured that you have no idea what will come next
- Throw out the performance metrics you’ve always relied on
- Your odds of success will improve when you pursue a disruptive course
The second read is Marc Andreessen’s Wall Street Journal piece, “Why Software is Eating the World.
” Andreessen’s is a voice for optimism in a stream of gloomy economic news
. Shunning the speculation of another “internet bubble,” he sees companies like Facebook, Zynga and Foursquare building high-growth, high-margin and highly defensible businesses. He explains:
My own theory is that we are in the middle of a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift in which software companies are poised to take over large swathes of the economy/ […] More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not […] Today, the world’s largest bookseller, Amazon, is a software company—its core capability is its amazing software engine for selling virtually everything online, no retail stores necessary. On top of that, while Borders was thrashing in the throes of impending bankruptcy, Amazon rearranged its web site to promote its Kindle digital books over physical books for the first time. Now even the books themselves are software.