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Dabang: The disruptive innovation way

March 1, 2011

So its been a long time where I have wanted to write about the most disruptive innovations in the corporate landscape in the past few years.

disruptive innovation is an innovation that disrupts an existing market. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by lowering price or designing for a different set of consumers.

I use the word Dabang to describe the men behind these disruptive innovations, they changed the marketplace, the created blue oceans and discovered new peaks to conquer them.

In this post I will talk about some companies who have emerged in today’s landscape as leaders  and with innovation as the backbone of their success.

And if you think that their numerous patents and inventions made them “Dabang”, you are terribly mistaken, lets walk through them and see what really made them Dabang.

Dabang 1:
Fred Smith (Founder, Fedex)


As a student, Fred Smith wrote a term paper about the inefficiencies of airfreight shippers with respect to time-sensitive shipments like medicine and electronic or computer parts. Six years later, Smith bought a small aviation firm and began to realize just how hard it was to deliver a package in a day or two. So he set about resolving those inefficiencies, one thing led to another, and express mail delivery was born.

FedEx’s innovation, express mail, happened because one man thought it might be a good idea and set out to figure out how to do it.

Dabang 2:Leonard Bosack  (Founder,Cisco)

Cisco’s first product was developed in their garage and was sold beginning in 1986 by word of mouth. In their first month alone, Cisco was able to land contracts worth more than $200,000. The company produced revolutionary technology such as the first multiport router-specific line cards and sophisticated routing protocols, giving them domination over the market-place.

Just ten years later, however, Cisco’s sales had grown 30 fold and it had become the most highly valued company in the world at over $50 billion. There were lots of network companies at the time, but Cisco alone had a vision of just how big point-to-point wide area networks (WAN) could become. So it acquired company after company and grew as fast as it could, helping businesses and eventually consumers to network.

Other companies had routers too, but Cisco changed the world through extraordinary execution of an aggressive growth-by-acquisition strategy.

Cisco proved the world a very important point,

“Game changes or disruptive innovations are not always technological amazements, they can be the way you market them”

Dabang 3: Steve Jobs (Founder, Apple)

Source:Google Images

I know you guys were waiting for this, the iCONic man I am going to talk about now is another product of the silicon valley garage. As the man says himself,

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower

and has he not proved that to the world through globally leading products.

When Apple came up with its “Think Different.” tagline with the launch of the iMac, it wasn’t just a marketing message; it was a reflection of a new way of thinking since Steve Jobs returned to the company. Thinking different became Apple’s competency, its process, its differentiation.

In a world of beige PCs, 5-disk CD players, and flip cell phones, Steve Jobs trained his company to look at things differently with new eyes and fresh perspective. That’s how a computer company has been able to transform one market after another.

Apple’s innovation was to look past how we currently do things. To think different.

Dabang 4 and 5: Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Founder,Google)

Source: Google Images

I know, I know we cant miss them, they have been the source of numerous inventions post the commercialization of their products, for a lot of us, we wouldn’t know what to do if Google wasn’t there, the Daband duo Seregy Bin and Larry Page, created one of the greatest disruptions in the history of time, the product (a search engine), the created in their 20’s changes the course of the world.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly magical about Google’s search engine, per se. Regardless, Google’s search algorithms did not account for how quickly the company got to a $150 billion market cap, $20 earnings per share, and a brand that’s a verb in everybody’s daily lexicon. All that happened because of Google’s approach to search advertising, AdWords.

In fact, Google’s founders tried to sell their search engine for a million bucks.

I don’t think one post is enough of a place to talk about all these great innovators, so I will break this post into two.

😀 I’ll keep you guys hooked onto this for my next post on some more dabangs who changed the game through innovations (Preview: Founders of McDonald, Dell, Microsoft and Toyota)

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