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Disruption rarely occurs because a new technology magically makes everything better. Few creators of software and algorithms build solely for the purpose of disrupting anything. Many creators of companies build to solve a problem they’ve had and they don’t see anyone else trying to solve, or entrenched interests block.

Imagine an industry so bad that people would literally cobble together any alternative to the status quo.

It’s not difficult to imagine, is it?

AirBnB makes money helping people rent their spare beds to each other because the hotel industry charged too much and provided a standardized, mediocre experience. We would rather stay at someone’s house than in the same old hotel room.

Breather does the same with office space. The old guard of office space rentals charged obscene fees just to use a room for an hour.

Ride sharing services sprang into existence because taxis suck so much. We would rather drive in some random stranger’s car because the customer experience is better than a licensed taxi service.

If we provide a poor customer experience, someone else will figure out a better one.

If we provide a really poor customer experience, our customers may band together to become competitors to us just to avoid the pain we cause. Can you imagine that board meeting? “Our customers hate us so much they started a company to oppose us.”

Consider what’s on the horizon from a technology perspective:

  • Machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Augmented reality
  • The Internet of Everything

These technologies will not disrupt your business. They are mere tools, in the same way that the web, social media, and smartphones are just tools.

What will disrupt your business is a better customer experience than you currently offer. The tools above will simply make it faster and easier for competitors – even customers – to disrupt a bad customer experience by creating a better one.

As advanced technologies become more democratized, creating better experiences will continue to be easier. We must disrupt ourselves, our customer experience, before someone else does it for us (and to us).


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