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3 telltale signs your startup has the potential to be disruptive

3 telltale signs your startup has the potential to be disruptive

There isn’t a term or phrase that’s more buzzworthy than “disruptive” in the startup world. Every startup claims that they are disruptive and that their product or service is going to disrupt the industry.

The truth is that most startups aren’t disrupting anything. What does it mean to “disrupt” and how do you know whether or not a startup is truly disruptive?

While it’s a term that might seem to be fairly new — it’s thrown around nonstop now throughout startup culture — disruption has been happening throughout time. The automobile replaced the horse and buggy, becoming the more convenient mode of transportation. The laptop made bulky home PCs less convenient, and then the smartphone completely changed how we access the internet.

These are all examples of disruption, and they all became the industry standard. A great example is the mobile phone industry. How many people do you see walking around with flip phones? Essentially nobody.

The majority of the population has an iPhone or an Android device — even grandparents. Why? Because they are the industry standard. Those devices disrupted the cell phone industry and continue to dominate.

Would you trade in your iPhone or Android and go back to a flip phone? Of course not. They have completely changed how we access information, perform day-to-day tasks, connect, and communicate with people, etc.

My latest business venture, Gamelancer, has received a fair of press lately and has even been labeled as a disruptor in the gaming industry. This made me ponder what actually makes a startup “disruptive” and I’ve managed to narrow it down to the three telltale signs below — if you demonstrate these, your startup has the potential to be disruptive.

1. Your product or service is very simple

A lot of the misconceptions regarding disruption centers around the thought that a product or service has to be wildly new or advanced. This simply isn’t the case. Some of the most disruptive startups created something extremely simple.

The key is being able to clearly explain what it is that your product or service does, and why it’s a better option for the consumer. You don’t have to try to impress with fancy industry jargon, either. Keep your message simple and explain it using common language — like you are explaining it to a friend or family member.

Look at Uber. It’s fair to say that they disrupted the public transportation industry. “Call a cab” has universally been replaced with “call an Uber.” They also have a very simple product. They made transportation more convenient.

Uber as a service was so easy for its users to grasp and understand, and the company intelligently rolled out its launch. Early users needed to understand the value of Uber, so they strategically launched in New York City.

When you think of taxi cabs New York immediately comes to mind. Its residents, visitors, and tourists hail cabs around the clock. This allowed them to introduce their offering to potential consumers that would instantly understand the value.

The simplicity of Uber was one of the main reasons it was able to explode in terms of user growth at such a rapid rate. It wasn’t complicated at all. It was easy and convenient, which made users instantly adapt.

Why would anyone use a traditional taxi service these days instead of calling an Uber? It’s more convenient and affordable. Being so simple and easy to understand is what led to Uber being disruptive.

Credit: Photo by Nout Gons from Pexels