“There are two types of people in this world: those who look for opportunity and those who make it happen.”
Those words probably best sum up author and digital media technology guru, Jay Samit, who shares his ideas of innovation and disruption in his must read book, Disrupt Yourself. It is a book that almost immediately removes the blinkers from those of us who have ridden the internet wave but with no true appreciation of the massive extent to which is has and will continue to completely transform the business landscape at every level.
What Samit does is personalise what many see as an overwhelming trend and one in which they can play no part. It removes the fear factor for the many of us who, like Samit, had to make the transition from a world of vinyl records, Kodak and video games to a digital era where things are changing faster than many of us can assimilate them.
His message is clear – participate rather than capitulate, starting with yourself. As he takes the reader through his journey of developing and then exiting his video games business, butting heads with music labels that refused to adapt to the advent of the digital age and implementing a global e-commerce strategy for electronics giant Sony, he clearly shows that it is not so much the size of an idea but the value of its application in meeting an unmet and unrecognised need that matters most.
Disrupt Yourself is essentially for the entrepreneur who might have a good product but is unable to identify the gaps and forge the alliances needed to bring it to life. Using examples of iconic entrepreneurs and thought leaders like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Steve Ballmer, Bill gates, Jack Walsh and many others, he shows that in a digital era it is quite okay to dream big, provided you are prepared to pivot and take your business in a completely different direction if needs be.
Before you are half way through this fascinating read, it’s quite clear that the success stories of the future will belong to those who are able to anticipate change and create their own opportunities on both personal and professional lines.
Samit also offers a warning to the corporate dinosaurs of the past and present that are too top heavy and weighed down by egos and cast-in-stone systems and processes to grasp the many lightning fast changes taking place within their market places. To quote him again: “The business world is littered with the fossils of companies that failed to evolve. Disrupt or be disrupted. There is no middle ground.”
Having read this book, you will probably never look at a supply chain in quite the same way again. You’ll also be aware that many of the things that we take for granted can be completely turned on their heads and the wasteful process that are imbedded within them whipped out in an instant – think of the encyclopaedia and Wikipedia, the taxi industry and Uber.
Overall, Samit takes his reader on an exciting ride that is more about creativity than it is about technology, more about opportunism than innovation. At the end, you can’t help asking “so where to now” rather than reminiscing about how far we’ve come. You also can’t help wanting to return to page one and read this book again … and again.
PUBLISHER: Bluebird (panmcmillan)
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