Author: Clayton Christiansen
Who should read this book: Entrepreneurs, Company Owners, CEOs, Product Marketers
An abridged version of this review first appeared on Vitesse Media's Growth Business
This is a ground-breaking business strategy book for entrepreneurs. It provides counter-intuitive insights into how and where massive markets are created by new entrants. First published in 1997 (republished in 2003), it’s the closest thing I have found to a “treasure map” for new business leaders.
Disruptive innovations are ideal for entrepreneurs because they are typically developed with off-the-shelf technologies by small, capital-efficient businesses and, best of all, have a lower failure rate than those that compete directly with incumbents.
Clayton Christiansen offers three key lessons on disruptive innovations: why market leaders typically don’t/won’t pursue the disruptive innovations which create new market leaders; where to look for those opportunities; and how to pursue them effectively.
It is an entertaining read: told through interesting case studies that describe challenges faced by market leaders in multiple industries. This is masterful storytelling, with example after example of bright, well intentioned CEOs losing their company’s market leadership position to entrepreneurial companies because they followed sound business practices. That’s right – following good business practices and sound management decisions will eventually lead to your demise as a market leader when competitive and disruptive technologies emerge. In this situation, if you listen to your customers, investors and employees you are doomed. Now that’s counter-intuitive.