I was saying to a friend this week that I felt like my approach to a certain interaction with one of our teams was a bit ‘disruptive’. After using that word, I immediately realised I need to follow that up with ‘not in a positive way’.
It got me to thinking about how that word is being used in tech. It seems like the tech startup ecosystem is often about entering markets in a violent way. ‘Disrupting’ markets adds an even more worrisome additional layer to it: it makes clear that the intention is to conquer a market that is seen as a zero-sum game.
Rather than breathing new life into a market, or expanding it, ‘disrupting’ implies pushing away the existing players in that market to make room for yourself, to man-spread as much as possible to profit from space created by others.
That realisation has also helped me have a clearer view on the types of companies I want to be involved in: the ones that create new markets, or expand them, or create new ecosystems within existing markets to benefit society as a whole rather than trying to maximise profits for a single entity.