Reading an article in Private Equity News yesterday, there was comment about some of the founders and early employees of Skype who – following Skype’s acquisition by EBay in 2005 – have set to work in funding new business ventures that will have the same disruptive intent as Skype did when it launched.
Being disruptive used to be a bad thing; in class at school and especially if you were engaged in tactical combat with a Romulan warbird. However, think about Skype and its innovative approach to the capabilities of digital communications and having disruptive intent means highlighting the obsolescence of the existing fixed line voice model and illuminating news ways of working; it is creative destruction at its best. We’re devotees of Schumpeter – the pioneer of creative destruction – especially as it has extra meaning in our creative sector.
Yesterday, we also read about Nokia’s planned launch next month of its netbook, called the Booklet. Up until now, netbooks have principally been manufactured by PC companies and given their connectivity through the addition of a mobile data card or dongle. Now those innovative Finns have decided to take on the establishment by doing the whole thing themselves; in essence a mobile phone company directly taking on the established PC companies, not with a smartphone or PDA-style device but a dedicated netbook design. And waiting in the wings is the much heralded Apple tablet device.
The intersection of electronic devices is already well advanced. It was only a few years ago that having a 1Mp camera on your phone was pretty avant garde whereas now 5-8Mp is the norm and 12Mp is already here. Added to that, you now have music and video players, document reading and editing, hand-held GPS, barcode/tagging technology and that’s without the exponentially expanding world of ‘mobile apps’; if you’re an iPhone user, there are apparently now more than 65,000 of them available for downloading to your device
Of course, for every ‘killer application’ there are thousands of also-rans but the pace of breadth of creative destruction mean that there is no shortage of new products emerging. When you add in the disruptive intent of individuals who want to challenge the established way of doing things in order to improve it, to paraphrase Wire’s track 99.9
‘the road ahead looks quite exciting’.