The “F” Word: Fear the Disruption You Will Not See

Over and over again I have one, singular experience when doing due diligence or analyzing some given internet or web category: inevitably I stumble across something that wasn’t obvious, didn’t show up prominently in search results, and even those smarter than me in some given area were unaware of it.

Here’s a case in point: searching for ecommerce engines (and I’ve looked at, and even installed, DOZENS and DOZENS), I came across MagentoCommerce some months ago. While still in beta, it’s close to shipping (promised for end of Q1) and it promises to be enterprise-class ecommerce delivered as an open source software offering.

From the software (tens of thousands of downloads), to the community (now over 10,000 strong), the partner program and the support options being put into place, anyone else delivering ecommerce needs to be very, very worried as this competitor emerges with such a vibrant ecosystem.

But the issue is the word “stumble” I used above. With hundreds of Web 2.0 hosted offerings, tens of thousands of open source software projects, and God knows how many commercial solutions out there, the analysis, selection and recommendation process is daunting if you’re a customer of any solution, but it’s worse when you’re competing in the internet or web space as an increasing number of projects are in “stealth mode” and their direction is not obvious.

What if you’re already in the ecommerce business and competing in this space and are fairly aware of the competitors but unaware of them all? How do you ensure that you ‘see’ disruption coming and fully understand the momentum an emerging competitor is achieving?

I’ve found it impossible to see everything and connect all dots. But I’m hyperfocused on social media (as I trust those in the ecommerce space are about their own category) and will come across solutions at some point if I look long and hard enough…but even I fear that awareness will come to me too late. My client strategists often use the “F” word without coming right out and stating that they “fear” the disruption they will not see, but it’s still on the tips of their tongues and they do state that’s why they hire people like me who take the time to seek and seek.

Regardless of what business you’re in, if you are a strategist, responsible for product management, marketing, sales or customer service, use an RSS reader to skim top blogs and news sites and continue to seek ways to make a broad scanning and analysis process work for you (with solutions like Twine and others emerging) since new releases are coming out in an ever greater number…

…or just stay in your fear place with the lights on.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.