Monday, February 3, 2020

Clayton Christensen, RIP

Tad Walch (via Hacker News):

Clayton Christensen, whose theory of disruptive innovation made him a key influence on Silicon Valley powerhouses like Netflix and Intel and twice earned him the title of the world’s most influential living management thinker, died Jan. 23 at age 67.


Christensen introduced disruptive innovation in the Harvard Business Review in 1995, but the theory and the term burst into the public consciousness in 1997 when he published “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail.” Soon afterward, Intel CEO Andy Grove stood up with a copy of the book at COMDEX in Las Vegas and declared it the most important book he’d read in a decade. The two men appeared together on the cover of Forbes magazine in 1999 — and both Christensen and the business world were changed forever.


Grove told Christensen he mislabeled his theory. Instead of innovative technologies, Grove suggested, Christensen should have used “crummy technologies.”

“A disruptive innovation looks inferior,” Gilbert said, “but only to the incumbent organizations. Then it opens up the ability to consume something that never would have been possible without the innovation.”

See also: Efosa Ojomo, Tren Griffin (tweet), Exponent and The Talk Show.

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