business Sep 11, 2015

When the word “Disruptor” is spoken – to most it’s seen as negative. According to the definition on Disrupt is “top cause disorder or turmoil.” The business definition from this site: “to radically change (an industry, business strategy, etc.), as by introducing a new product or service that creates a new market”.

When I think of a company that is classified as a Disruptor – I see a company that has focused on the customer, knows what matters to them and has delivered a product or service to them. UBER is a great example of this. At the root of it they are providing the same functional offering as the age-old taxi BUT changed the service level to the customer. They provided the customer with a car service that made it easy to find a car when needed, to understand the costs before they show up, made payments and receipts easy, provided a way to rate the drivers and customers. A by-product of their application is a feeling of safety for passengers as they are actually known and tracked in the system. I am purposefully not addressing the driver model in this post as I want to stay focused on the customer experience.

The 4 reasons a Disruptor will be successful:

  1. No Industry Related Knowledge – I know this sounds ridiculous but most founders of a Disruptor were not an expert in the industry. These non-experts usually have an advantage over the long-time bias of the experts of the industry. I truthfully can tell, in both my companies that were Disruptors in the FinTech space, myself and my team were not experts in the specific niche of the financial industry. We saw a better way to service the customers and went for it despite all the naysayers from the industry telling us it would never happen.
  2. Customer-Centric focus first – inherently a disruptor has the customer in mind first. They do not take them for granted and are passionate about serving their wants.
  3. Technology focus second – the Disruptor focuses on solving the customer problem with technology. The Disruptor is not using technology for the sake of technology. Technology helps the Disruptor solve the customer problem at a profit!!
  4. Brave Business Model – the Disruptor does not get stuck into the mould of what already is working in the industry. They challenge not only the customer experience through technology but also leverage creative business models. In my second FinTech company, we broke the current model with the business model we introduced into the market. This subscription based business model had been used in other industries and we used it in our first FinTech company. We took a lot of negative feedback from the industry itself except from the customers. They loved the pay as you go model. They loved paying with a credit card. This all was scoffed at in the beginning of our existence but what was key was selling a pay as you go subscription and getting them to pay a whole year in advance.

Disruptors don’t set out to be Disruptors. They set out to passionately solve the customers problem in a way that matters to the customer. And they do this in a way that can drive value to the customer and their company. The word Disruptor in my house is far from a dirty word!! Disruptor in my world represents extreme courage, enormous passion and the willingness to provide a better experience!! Disruptors are innovative service providers!!