Dvorak Claims Disruptive Technologies Don't Exist

from the a-few-bad-examples dept

John C. Dvorak seems to exist solely to show just how little he understands about technology and business these days. His latest piece points to a few bad examples of what might be disruptive technologies and then claims there's simply no such thing as a disruptive technology, as described by Clayton Christensen. It appears Dvorak has never actually read Christensen's books, but assumes he knows what they're about after hearing Christensen say the idea of disruptive technologies came to him while watching how DEC failed. Maybe the problem is that, like others before him, Dvorak misreads "disruptive" and assumes there needs to be a "big bang" (he mentions the atom bomb as being disruptive), when the truth is "disruptive technologies" are really "straight, boring technologies. In the meantime, I'd suggest that Dvorak take a look at VoIP and camera phones, but it appears he's already trashed camera phones for not being good enough (the first sign of someone who doesn't understand disruptive technologies) and while he seems to like VoIP and admit that it's the "future of telephony," it never occurs to him that it's disruptive.


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    Michael Vilain, Aug 2nd, 2004 @ 10:28am

    Didn't they name a keyboard after this guy?

    (just kidding)

    John Dvorak became the resident crumugeon of the PC pundits. He didn't seem to looking at technologies outside the PC most of the time. He stopped writing columns for other systems like DECuser and MacUser, albeit because those magazines stopped paying him (shortly before ceasing publication).

    Robert X. Cringley has been more up to date with the sort of changes we've been seeing in such areas and isn't restricted to the the PC style blinders that Dvorak seems to wear.

     

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    Jeremiah, Aug 3rd, 2004 @ 12:36am

    No Subject Given

    I get the impression Dvorak is just trying to bring down the tenor of the phrase "disruptive technology" as marketing-fodder. He makes a solid point about the way that camera-enabled cell phones are marketed as means-of-public-emberassment, ostensibly because that's the best thing anyone can think of to do with them. "If you want to take pictures, get a camera."

    Although, I did appreciate the irony of him writing in the context of how these phones aren't really disruptive because their image quality sucks, then going on to describe how act of setting up a real camera gives cues to people on how to behave (proper) and how the cellphones violate this social contract (improper). Isn't that the very definition of "disruptive technology??"


    Incidentally, I'm also in the VoIP-is-not-disruptive-tech camp. VoIP is simply a changing of underlying infrastructure (layer of abstraction), but at the end of the day, it's still a phone call (they give you TONE for chrissakes!) Yes, telcos will come and go, but our end experience of voice communication is roughly the same as it's been for the last 70 or so years.

     

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      Mike (profile), Aug 3rd, 2004 @ 12:51am

      Re: No Subject Given

      Incidentally, I'm also in the VoIP-is-not-disruptive-tech camp. VoIP is simply a changing of underlying infrastructure (layer of abstraction), but at the end of the day, it's still a phone call (they give you TONE for chrissakes!) Yes, telcos will come and go, but our end experience of voice communication is roughly the same as it's been for the last 70 or so years.

      Just wait... What your seeing now is mostly mimicry of VoIP, but it's not going to stay there. VoIP lets you do so much more than what you now think of as voice communications....

       

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        Jeremiah, Aug 3rd, 2004 @ 12:58am

        Re: No Subject Given

        Such as....

         

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          chris (profile), Aug 4th, 2006 @ 11:21am

          Re: Re: No Subject Given

          such as:

          voicemail to email

          the ability to move your phone and phone number anywhere in the world without your providers assistance

          being able to manage your own calling features (voicemail password resets, e911 information, caller ID info) via a website instead of logging in to a PBX system

          being able to save a list of speed dials that are saved on the network, not on your phone (or sim card)

          being able to bridge calls to other networks (cellular for example)

          setting your own wakeup calls

          recording a call just by pressing a button and having it delivered to your voicemail (or email)

          free directory assistance

          caller ID black listing and whitelisting

          being able to see your phone bill online, before the invoice period

          i am sure there will be others

           

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    Philip Sargent, Oct 18th, 2004 @ 4:46am

    Disrupted markets

    It is unfortunate that the phrase "disruptive technology" entered the language without the explanation that it is the market that is disrupted, and there there is nothing special about the specific technology whatsoever. CC's example of hydraulic drive for excavators (backhoes) as opposed to steel cable mechanisms is a good example.

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Aug 4th, 2006 @ 3:18pm

    More

    Nice list Chris. To continue...

    setting up your own forwarding rules for calls

    multi phone number simulring

    follow-me ringing patterns

    transferring calls

    adding in multiple participants to make a conf call

    group calling

    Push to talk

    switching a call started on a phone to a PC, a mobile, a wifi phone, a video phone, a car, all on the fly

    switching a call started on the PSTN to a call on a P2P network, a wireless network, or another network, on the fly

    sending a photo or song in the same data stream as a conversation because you happened to mention the song during your conversation

    connecting with people not just by telephone number, but by handle, buddy list, or search tool

    presence information integrated into a contact list which suggests the best method of contacting a receiving party

    Voice sharing the same network as data traffic, streaming media, web pages, porn, TV, thus a single infrastructure to support with media services layered on top

    ...Yeah. I'd say IP-based communications are disruptive to the PSTN.

    I remember my grandmother talking about all the great choices the telcos came out with in the 70s. You could lease your phone in black OR white. Awesome.

     

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