I’m in the air on Virgin America flying back to SFO from NYC. I was in NYC for the CODiE awards. It was thrilling to win Jigsaw’s third CODiE on Tuesday night. We won Best Online Business Directory and Sales Leads Service. I think winning a CODiE is the best way to fire up a start-up’s technical team (other than an IPO). Our tech team is really psyched – and I’m really proud of them.
I was asked to speak on a panel hosted by Henry Blodgett, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of BusinessInsider.com (Note: Henry is a great speaker and his Business Insider kicks the dog doo out of TechCrunch. I’m not just saying this because Arrington and I are such “good” buddies. Check it out and decide for yourself). The panel was titled Information Wants to be Expensive. Three companies that were identified as disrupting their industries were interviewed by Henry. Here are the main points that I made to a room full of Information Industry executives regarding how to disrupt (and avoid disruption):
– Almost all information is becoming commoditized. It will continue to get more transparent over time. In other words – there will be relentless downward pressure on the price of information/data as it keeps moving closer and closer to free.
– At Jigsaw we have always maintained that the eventual value isn’t in the data. The eventual value is in understanding the change in the data. Companies that do this best will win . This is where the hockey puck is going and represents the vision behind our signature product Jigsaw Data Fusion.
– Big information companies are often slow moving dinosaurs who lack innovation – and therefore get disrupted. They need to read Clayton Christianson’s The Innovators Solution (sequel to his seminal work The Innovator’s Dilemma). Note: the two books are MUST READS for every entrepreneur.
– Those getting disrupted have three options:
- Buy the company that is disrupting
- Kill the company that is disrupting
- Form an alliance with the company that is disrupting
– I pointed out our alliance with Dun & Bradstreet as a great example. This has been a great partnership for both our companies and driven a lot of revenue. They did it right by jumping in with both feet rather than dilly-dallying around.
– I voiced my opinion that some companies can’t avoid getting disrupted. Encyclopedia Britannica is a great example. Wikipedia sucked when it first came out. But… it got relentlessly better – and fast. By the time Britannica could respond it was too late. My nine year old son will never even know about Britannica (unless he reads about it in Wikipedia….)
Thinking about the subject after the fact I just have one simple thought: If you think you are getting disrupted rather than doing the disrupting you batter damn well exercise one of the above three options – and with alacrity!