Friday, February 6, 2015



What does disruption mean?  Google it:  "disturbance or problems that interrupt an event, activity, or process."  But what do I mean and in what context?

How about markets and technology?

This Tuesday, 2/10/2015 (delayed from Sunday 2/9), SpaceX plans to launch a NASA satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket and then recover the first stage booster.  Last time (video), the booster made it back from the edge of space to the recovery ship, only to have a "hard landing" and "RUD" (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly).  We wish them success in their adventure!

How is SpaceX a disruption?  They built a company from scratch to launch rockets.  No one thought they could do it, and their first rockets exploded.  They were not a long-time Government contractor or aerospace company like Boeing, Martin Marietta, Lockheed, North America Aviation,  McDonnell Aircraft or any of the others that built rockets for the NASA Mercury program and later, and for the US DOD.  SpaceX created a vertically integrated rocket company where they are their own supply chain, building, testing, and launching the rocket from their own facilities. Their rockets are FAR cheaper than their competitors, and if they successfully are able to return one from space and re-use it, they will realize even more savings. The SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, created Pay Pal, hence engineers from the computer industry have caused a MAJOR DISRUPTION of the existing rocket companies all over the world (for example ULA, the company owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin).

What are some other examples of disruption?

Apple Computer was a computer company that was nearly broke and had to be bailed out by Microsoft.  They have a long record of disruption.  For example they innovated and created the iPod which disrupted the record industry, and soon thereafter disrupted the mobile phone market with the iPhone.  Apple is now the most valuable tech company (and on some days the most valuable company in the world).  Not bad for a company that was nearly broke a little over 15 years ago!

Open Source and Linux have disrupted the software market.  Today, most of your smart embedded devices have "Linux Inside" (but no branding or Tux).  Most software today includes massive amounts of open source and even Microsoft has open sourced the .NET core (a few years ago they called Linux a cancer).

What have you disrupted today?

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