TechCrunch Disrupt vs. Innovation vs. Technology vs. Entrepreneurship – A definitional exploration

Forgive my lawyerly ways, but I think proper definitions put proper context on what we do.

My current chaffing comes from the differences in the words Disrupt, Innovate, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

I know a blog about definitions sounds incredibly boring, but try to take a step back after reading this and ask what your hopes, dreams, goals, and endeavors are trying to do. This is a fundamental in my step 2 rant about ONLY DOING THINGS THAT INCREASE YOUR LIKELIHOOD TO SUCCEED.


Disruptive Technologies, by definition takes a well established way of doing something, and completely changes it. For instance, when we had something to say we used to talk on the phone to one person and/or get a group of people together to listen in mass, now we talk in 140 character texts through Twitter. Creating a super cool new construction material is not disruptive.

The benefits of disruption are, if your way of disruption is the winner (not Myspace), literally billions of dollars (Microsoft). But it is also incredibly hard. First and foremost, convincing someone to switch is very hard. Rules of thumb are 1) Educating a market is the most expensive form of marketing and 2) you have to be perceived to be 10x better than the current method for second degree marketing efforts to become viable (Second degree is where people use your service though none of your marketing has ever reached them directly).

Usually disruption comes in the form of a big, simple idea. How we communicate (Twitter), how we do accounting (Medici’s), how we purchase household goods (Amazon Prime).

Innovation and Technology are actually synonymous, at least in definition. They both simply mean a new way of doing things. Tech-nology actually means “a new way” and has nothing to do with computers. An advanced technology simply means a new, more sophisticated, way of doing something. The benefits of this are that the market is already established and all you have to do is let the market know you exist and work to take market share.

Entrepreneurship is a derivative of the verb ‘to enter.’  You need nothing new or original, other than you entering the market. Every single new restaurant is by definition entrepreneurial.

So what seems right to you? Where do you fit? If you cannot stand the way something is done to you want to be a little bit better, or do you want to completely change the way people go about doing something?

But hey, what do I know?

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