Think hack means a harmful event? I used to until I saw that the “nerd world” has turned the term into a positive. Any business mentor who counsels owners and CEOs should gladly embrace and practice hacking. Here’s some history.
A couple of years ago, a student in one of my Entrepreneurship classes and I worked out a contract that would give him Honors credits for the course. In return, he would lead the effort for the first national Hackathon held at Purdue. 400 students from everywhere showed up for the privilege of working 36 hours straight for $10,000 in prizes. Recruiters from major tech firms were also eager attendees, giving them first crack at budding new talent. The Hackathon was a resounding success.
Until that time, I had associated any term containing “hack” to be negative, such as a malicious attack on computer code.
Now Wikipedia includes many positive definitions including “an inelegant but effective solution to a computing problem.”
In my work with students and clients, we talk a lot about disruptive innovation. Clayton Christensen coined the term in 1995 to explain a phenomenon where upstart businesses were able (over time) to topple mammoth industries by combining new automation with a business model that allowed them to make money at much lower prices than the behemoths. The frantic pace of technology is the fuel that feeds faster disruptive innovation. See Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma.
Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer, points out in a period of about 30 years, Apple disrupted six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. See Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs.
What has been the impact of technology driving automation over the past few decades? In Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s 2015 book, Bold, they define the improvement in technology as the increase in processing speed multiplied by the decrease in cost. In a 40-year period between 1971 and 2012, what would you guess this improvement has been? My students start low and sometimes I coax them up to 1 million times or so. The answer?
100 Billion Times!
Is it any wonder disruptive innovation is so pervasive? Shouldn’t all key business strategies be subjected to frequent hacks?Tags: CEO, disruptive innovation, Hack, Hackathon