Subject: innovator's dilemma
From: Chris Maeda <>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 15:40:45 -0800

This is a good summary. Another key part of the dynamic
is that the disruptive technology finds a sustainable niche
in a market that values different aspects of the new
technology until it matures enough that it can satisfy the
needs of some other market (the original market) at
lower cost.

The main example in the book is 3.5 in disks which
didn't have enough capacity for desktop pc's (which used
5.25 in disks) but found a market in laptops where capacity
mattered less than form factor.  Eventually 3.5 in disks
took over the desktop as well once the capacity caught up.

I believe that Microsoft is in the middle of this process
with both Windows (from Linux) and Office (from OpenOffice
and Corel).  OSS is interesting here because it provides a
new mechanism for nurturing a disruptive software technology
until it is mature enough to take over some established market.

At 05:34 PM 10/28/2002 +0500, Benjamin J. Tilly wrote:
>Rich Bodo <> wrote:
> >
> > >   "Yes, you are going to enable competitors that
> > >   you will not even see until they eat your market
> > >   out from under you, with no hope of your
> > >   successfully resisting!  And the harder you work
> > >   to satisfy your customers, the harder it will be
> > >   for you to figure out what is going on.  Isn't
> > >   this great!"
> >
> > Can you name some businesses who fell prey to the horrors of free
> > software in this manner?  Can you show compellingly that their woes
> > were due to their use of free software?
>_The Innovator's Dilemma_ is an excellent book by
>Clayton Christensen which lays out a theory of how
>inferior technologies routinely replace established
>predecessors.  Tim was arguing that free software
>induces the dynamic that Clayton talked about.
>The above is an explanation of what Clayton's thesis
>looks like from the point of view of those being
>destroyed.  For repeated examples of that and
>explanations of why it works that way, read his book.
>Free software projects fit the characteristics that he
>laid out for disruptive innovation (underperforming
>commodity products which do not meet customer's
>current needs, but which can be projected to do so
>with straightforward projectable improvement).  There
>are several examples that look like his thesis in
>progress.  None of them have run the course, and none
>of them could readily be used to argue for the
>validity of his thesis.
>So you will either have to read the book, or else
>accept the stipulation in my email that the management
>believes Clayton Christensen's thesis.  (And believe
>my characterization of it.)
>Get your free email from
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