Saturday, August 3, 2013

How can you disrupt your industry and our world?

Our world is teetering on the edge of a precipice, and on the horizon is a gaping black pit known as hopelessness. This blog and its author are known for optimism so this is an odd way to begin a post, but it's imperative that we identify the problem before we prescribe a solution.

When we say hopelessness, we might also mean "less hope." Here's a litmus test: do you believe that life will be better for your children, your grandchildren, your nieces, your nephews?

If your answer is yes, then you might find this post pointless. Unfortunately, too many of us have felt just the opposite.

In comparison to twenty years ago, it's harder to earn money, more money is needed, and job/business prospects seem to grow tighter, even bleak with time. Some would say that our world is swirling around a very large economic drain.

It doesn't have to be this way...and this author is not convinced it will be. "Why?"

We need only to look at Elon Musk for that answer. Elon, as readers of this blog know, is the founder of Tesla electric cars and Space-X, the space exploration company that is actually profitable and cutting the costs of getting into space every single day.

Past blogs will talk a little about those efforts, but what we're focusing on today is what is commonly known as disruptive technologies. But what does that mean?

Disrupt simply means to upturn or replace, and that's exactly what Tesla motors is trying to do: it's trying to replace gasoline engines with all electric cars. Profit is not the motive for Tesla, getting the entire population driving electric cars (whatever the brand) is their sole goal.

Space-X is doing the same exact thing...only with cost reductions and quality improvements. They are perfecting materials and technologies to get us into space more cheaply and safely (next up is a reusable rocket that can return to Earth and land on its own legs, which will reduce the cost of launches from sixty million to three million, or less).

Of course, both companies need to pay the bills and seek to make a profit as they grow and develop, but the key here is that profit is only a secondary (though necessary) consideration along the way to the main goal: to change their industry dramatically.

So, that's our point. The internet has disrupted everything from mail, to phone, to banking, to shopping. The list is nearly endless.

But has the internet improved our lives?

It has if you consider email is instant and free. It has if you consider that few people pay long distance charges anymore.

It has if you like the convenience of checking your bank balance, paying your bills, or even scanning checks at home to deposit them. The internet has also improved things if you consider that matching a cup and saucer from your grandmother's china set might have been impossible twenty years ago, and today you can find one in minutes or less.

Finally, I would like to point out that people all over the world can now learn, communicate, and enjoy the benefits of a modern life through minicomputers known as smart phones. The third world finally has a shot of catching up to the rest of us.

There are still thousands of industries that need someone to shake them by the throat and drag them into the 21st Century. Change can lead us to a bright future with improved jobs, wages and life for everyone.

What's required?

That's a great question, and only you can answer it. Technology exists to change everything, and if we will all step up and change our companies, our workplaces, our hobbies, we will find huge improvements sweeping this world.

Is there a better, more efficient, more profitable way to do something at your place of work? Tell the boss and make it happen.

If you own the company, look for incremental changes. Stack up one hundred tiny one-percent changes and you've disrupted your company and chances are your industry by one hundred percent.

Disrupting our world has provided tens of thousands of high-paying jobs to people in the United States while also earning Elon Musk billions of dollars.

What can you do? Are you up for the challenge?

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