a16z Podcast | Disruption in Business... and Life | Summary and Q&A

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January 2, 2019
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a16z Podcast | Disruption in Business... and Life

TL;DR

Disruption theory has evolved over the last 20 years, with new ideas and anomalies challenging the original theory. Hotels and higher education historically avoided disruption, but recent developments in industries like hospitality and online learning have proven otherwise.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How has disruption theory evolved over the last 20 years?

Disruption theory has faced new challenges and anomalies, leading to a greater understanding of the theory's limitations and the need to adapt. Certain industries that were previously thought to be immune to disruption have now experienced disruptions.

Q: Why has disruption theory garnered attention from venture capitalists in Silicon Valley?

Disruption theory has gained popularity within venture capital and Silicon Valley due to its ability to explain why well-run, established companies can be disrupted by startups. It challenges the traditional belief that well-run companies are immune to disruptions.

Q: When do companies typically start getting disrupted, before or after they go public?

Disruption can occur at any stage of a company's lifecycle. Startups and venture-backed companies are already facing disruption from competitors, and the risk of disruption only increases after going public due to potential complacency and a loss of agility.

Q: How do founders contribute to the success and adaptability of companies?

Founders have a unique mindset and vision, often rooted in their experience of building a company from scratch. They are more open to disruption and can adapt quickly to changes in the market, making them valuable in countering disruptions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Disruption theory has evolved to address anomalies and new ideas that challenge the original theory.

  • Industries like hotels and higher education, which were thought to be immune to disruption, have now faced disruptions from companies like Airbnb and online learning platforms.

  • The rate of improvement and trajectory in disruption is not constant, and innovators are constantly finding new ways to disrupt established industries.

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