Be Disruptive

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Yesterday I was at the awesome NYU Entrepreneurial Festival. A highlight for me was Luke Williams’ class on disruptive thinking. Here’s what I got out of it.

In your biz and in your life, chose the scary route. In this picture, look at the dude on the left, “Who is he? I don’t know — just the happiest guy I could find on the internet,” Williams said. “Why is he so happy? He’s complacent. He’s the face of all the companies we know. Doing what he’s always done, making small incremental changes.”

Luke Williams at the NYU Entrepreneurial Festival.

Luke Williams at the NYU Entrepreneurial Festival.

Like Kodak, everyone saw that Kodak’s biz was going down when digital cameras came along, but the CEO of Kodak basically said, “Why stick your hand in an engine that’s running?” If you’re the mechanic, you don’t reinvent the car while you’re supposed to fix it. Right? Williams is smart.

Now look at Janet Leigh. This is how your client or company should look — scared. And ready for change.

Hitchcock killed off his leading lady in the first 30 minutes of Psycho. No one had ever done that. Be like Hitchcock. Be counter-intuitive.

How do you do that? If sodas are supposed to be inexpensive, sweet, and aspirational; make them expensive, sour, and real.

Look for cliches — “widespread beliefs that govern the way people think and do business.” And then disrupt the cliches. Be like Little Mismatched, the company, that sells socks, not in pairs, but in singles or in threes.

Feed your own rebellious instinct — the one that wants change for the sake of change.

I plan to disrupt this endless winter with spring.

Spring starts in five days for me. I’m going to Sarasota, Florida for a few days, back to NYC for a few days, then to a dude ranch in Patagonia, Arizona with the family for almost a week, then just me and Hayden, my 11th grader, go to look to North Carolina (where I’ll offer a writing and art workshop with the fabulous Cindy Sloan.) And Hayden and I will visit a couple of colleges in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham for a few days.

I have been so slammed with work. Tomorrow and maybe a couple of more days this week, I’ll be subbing middle school English at a nearby prep school. I’m also continuing posts and articles with my fabulous blogging client. I have lovely tutoring jobs. I have an annual report due for a new client. I have to meet with my mentor to get my paperwork signed for my self employment assistance program.

I don’t want to disrupt my busy work life.┬áBut I don’t mind disrupting winter to get to spring. And summer.

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Walking towards 8th Street near NYU.

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4 thoughts on “Be Disruptive

  1. Thanks Mary Beth. Your words remind me that even though it’s scary, I’m not crazy to be siphoning time away from my financially successful fitness business to eek my way along toward my dream of being a financially successful writer. It’s hard but it’s good. Allowing ourselves to wander off the beaten path we know into uncharted territory is not only exhilarating but necessary for a fulfilling, authentic life. I needed that reminder today, so thanks for the post.

    • You’re welcome! yes, Sheryl, I get what you’re going through. I want my way to be easy but alas, it is in the challenge of, as you say, “uncharted territory,” that we find our way. We have to get lost to find ourselves.

    • Yes, I will regal you with my tales. By the way, Kizz, good work on the NYC LTYM casting. Tough job, but glad you’re doing it. And I can’t wait to see you in this year’s show of Listen To Your Mother.

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