by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 4th 2010 6:49pm
One of the key points to understand in Clayton Christensen's Innovator's Dilemma is the idea that the "new thing" that hits the market often gets dismissed early on by the legacy players as not being good enough. Chris Dixon has taken that concept to a different level in predicting that the "next big thing will start out looking like a toy." It's a good way of thinking about it, because it really frames the level of dismissiveness that many have towards disruptive innovation. It's not just that they think it's "not good enough," but that it's so pitiful that it's only real purpose is to be a toy. But former "toys" can turn out to be much more over time. This isn't to say -- of course -- that all things dismissed as "toys" will actually become disruptive innovation (that would be a logic failure), but it does mean you shouldn't so quickly assume that every "toy" will never amount to anything else. It helps to look at who's doing the dismissing and what motives they might have -- while also looking at the adoption curves and usage of the "toy" in question.
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