Social Disruption Starts – Today 11 Years ago

by Jörgen Eriksson on April 29, 2015

11 years ago today, someone named Mark Zuckerberg appeared on CNBC to discuss an online social network that had 100K users. Facebook quickly grew from a site run from a Harvard dorm room into the Web’s largest social network.

Mark Zuckerberg on CNBC April 29, 2004


I signed up to the network in 2005 when it started accepting users outside of the US University system. 2006 brought Facebook´s first major redesign. A news feed was added to a users´s home page and a mini feed appeared on individual profile pages.

In 2009 the news feed was replaced by a real-time stream. Facebook also asked users “What is on your mind?” prompting sharing of status updates. Facebook overhauled its profile page again in 2010, when also fan pages were introduced.

In 2011 we got the real-time activity feed ticker on the right of the screen and the same year we also got video chat, a feature I have yet not tried.  2011 also brought timelines and integration with Spotify, and on it goes… 

Today Facebook is a business and networking platform for self-promotion, advertising and multimedia interaction. With new apps and add-ons, Facebook users can create and host events, advertise their businesses through social ads, and more. Clearly Facebook turned into a disruptive innovation, disruption social interaction and the way we promote ourselves and our businesses.

The theory of disruptive innovation was introduced by Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School in his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma” in 1997. Christensen used the term to describe innovations that create new markets by discovering new categories of customers. They do this partly by harnessing new technologies but also by developing new business models and exploiting old technologies in new ways.

Christensen contrasted disruptive innovation with incremental or sustaining innovation, which simply improves existing products. Personal computers, for example, were disruptive innovations because they created a new mass market for computers. Previously, expensive mainframe computers had been sold only to big companies and research universities.

Disruptive innovations usually find their first customers in a niche or at the bottom of the market. As unproved, often unpolished, products, they cannot command a high price. Incumbents are often complacent and slow to recognise the threat that their inferior competitors pose.

But as successive refinements improve them to the point that they start to steal customers, they may end up reshaping entire industries. Some examples are classified ads (Craigslist), long distance calls (Skype), record stores (iTunes), research libraries (Google), local stores (eBay), taxis (Uber), newspapers (Twitter) and social interaction (Facebook). So, where will Mr Zuckerberg go next?

About Jörgen Eriksson :

Jörgen Eriksson is the founder of Bearing and is the Chairman of the firm since it was created. He has successfully expanded Bearing into covering projects on four continents. He is also Adjunct Professor of Innovation Management at the International University of Monaco and at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona and he is an active member of the Founders Alliance organisation.

Working with consulting engagements across Bearings practices, he has over the past fifteen years participated in and supervised a large number of client projects, from innovation system development and place development and branding, to merger and acquisition assignments and leading edge research and business development activities for key clients.

His new book, Branding for Hooligans, will be published in 2015. It is about how innovation and branding are key survival factors in our modern times of hyper competitive markets.

Prior to Bearing, he was Director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Trema Treasury Management, a technology and consulting services provider, supplying financial software solutions for the global financial industry, Clients included The European Central Bank, Citibank, SEB, South African reserve Bank, Deutsche Bank, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), as well as many other large financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.

Early in his career Eriksson was educated at the Stockholm School of Economics, where he studied economics, financial economics and philosophy. He then worked in Scandinavian investment banks and also for the Swedish Institute of National Defense Research.

You can contact Jörgen on e-mail, connect on LinkedIn onörgen-eriksson/0/38/8a0/ and follow him on twitter on joreri508.

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