Disruption. That’s a word you’ve probably heard multiple places, from marketing to tech. In this case, Tech Target defines the term disruptive technology as something that shakes up an industry so hard it’s never the same, or even technology that creates a new industry altogether.
They give some great examples of disruptive tech, such as:
- The Windows operating system, which of course redefined how people thought of computers. Responsible for “home computer” even being a thing.
- Email. Think of the world before it. Enough said.
- Social media. An evolution of chat rooms, blogs, and forums, becoming some kind of hybrid and totally changing how we spend our time online and how we keep up with each other.
- Electric cars.
Obviously more recent things like blockchain technology, voice assistants (like Google Home and Amazon Echo), and “___ as a service” models are developing now, and we’ve yet to fully realize the effect those will have on our lifestyles.
This is what fascinates me about the concept.
After we as a society settle in with a major change, future iterations of that don’t usually affect much. For instance, when cars first came out that changed everything about transportation, but these days when Chevy comes out with a new Silverado it’s not really a game-changer. You’d buy it if you needed a new truck, but not buying it doesn’t put you behind other people in a significant way.
The rate of change gets faster and faster, so we’re seeing disruptive tech all the time now. It’s not decades at a time between routine-changing inventions, and the concurrent nature of all these things happening can be overwhelming.
The way we spend money, talk to each other, stay productive, make money, find dates, find transportation, etc. are shaking up daily.
I was first exposed to this when I was 15 and started learning HTML, and then again a few years later when blogging platforms like LiveJournal became a thing. It struck me how novel it was to create something and put it out into the world, on the web, for anyone to see.
It’s a fascination that stuck with me since, and something I’ve blogged about for years on other sites. Something I’d now love to dive deeper into on this site.