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.


Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Dvorak Claims Disruptive Technologies Don't Exist”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
7 Comments
Michael Vilain says:

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.

Jeremiah (user link) says:

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.

Mike (profile) says:

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….

chris (profile) says:

Re: 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

Philip Sargent (user link) says:

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.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...