Danger, Disruption, and Opportunity

Ben Thompson said on Exponent ep. 158, “The danger to companies is never the direct competition, the danger is the disruption.”


The danger to a diet is never picking carrots over broccoli, it’s the chocolate cake. The danger to an exercise routine isn’t choosing between the bike or a jog, it’s Netflix on the couch. The danger to a retirement portfolio isn’t choosing to dollar cost average over the year or make one annual contribution, it’s changing your investment strategy over and over again in the short run. 


Disruption is bigger than tech. It’s whatever alternative scenario derails the current trajectory. What tech does remind us is that disruption can also be positive. We can, therefore, separate between the disrupted and the disrupter. For the disrupter, “The opportunity for companies is never in direct competition, the opportunity is the disruption.”


The opportunity to disrupt the chocolate cake cycle is to switch to veggies, not chips. The opportunity to disrupt the Netflix on the couch cycle is to start exercising, not subscribe to Hulu. The opportunity for a retirement portfolio is to figure out what strategy works for your personality, not to adjust based on how last month’s statement made you feel.


The common denominator in all of these cases is the work we choose to do. It requires focus. So long as we remember the danger lies in mere competition while the opportunity exists in disruption, we’ll stay on the path of challenging for progress. 


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