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Disruptive By Nature - Commentary

Posted on 1.31.2013

Are you engaged in a disruptive business behavior?

Are you following the status quo, mirroring the practices of those who came before, or are you and your Web enterprise doing something that frightens, confuses and excites? If not, you're middle of the road, destined for mediocrity and to be forgotten in the archives of digital history. But whether you’re disruptive by nature or not, it’s never too late to try. 

Look around the Web business community over the past 10-15 years. You'll find a line coursing nimbly through the virtual hoard. This line separates those that have done what has been expected, and those that were once likely emerged in personal and professional turmoil. The latter’s unique ideas were profoundly disruptive and disorderly to the environment of the time around them.

Think about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, a college kid that made a private college directory public, to which big things have happened. Think about Aaron Swartz, the recently deceased American computer programmer, writer, political organizer, and Internet activist who was in great part responsible for the success of Reddit, the development of RSS and the website framework, along with numerous other accomplishments.

It’s not hard to imagine that in any other environment, under alternative circumstances, either of these individual’s situation could have turned out much differently.

While there are many stories similar to those of Zuckerberg, and, unfortunately, too many like that of Swartz, they are far from the only ones new media professionals like you and I should be concerned with. The Web business community may at times suffer a shortage of disruptive and disorderly individuals (and companies) whose ideas truly spark heated debate and change the environment around them. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can do something about it.

In your own company, are you seeking new and different solutions to existing problems affecting those who came before you? What marketing campaigns are you currently running; what platforms are you building; and what relationships are you investing in that are truly memorable? If you're not actively causing trouble, you're just...not. As Daniel Burnham once said:

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will themselves not be realized.”

Innovation, more specifically the act of innovating, is like being in a bar fight (I can only imagine, as I've never actually been in one) — if you're not skilled in the intricacies of pugilism, you better start throwing chairs and beer bottles or you're going to end up on the floor.

Being disruptive of course is easier said than done. It’s essential to have an attitude of, “I’m going to wake up every day and fight for my idea, surprise people and risk failure at every turn.” You need to prioritize your ideas and pull the trigger only on those that will move your enterprise forward, but doing so provides the greatest opportunity and chance you and your enterprise have of receiving reward for your grand ideas and efforts.

George Elliot once said that, “it’s never too late, to be what you might have been.” If your ’Net decisions aren't disrupting the norm, breaking the rules and surprising people, waste no more time and expend no more energy. Start being disruptive by nature and accelerate your success.

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