The difference between a disruptor and a threat is the threat already HAS both an infrastructure AND a network. A disruptor typically has neither, at least at startup. It’s like comparing ants to elephants: Put a few ants in a sandbox and nobody really notices. But put an elephant in a sandbox and there’s no longer a sandbox.
A disruptor who wants to play in your sandbox is little more than an ant, at least at face value. But if you ignore them, they will build networks and create infrastructure inside your sandbox that you’re not aware of. That’s because ants: 1. Never stop working, and 2. Are intricate system and network designers. (Ever have an ant farm as a kid?)
Who’s Coming to Play?
If an internationally-networked business shows up to play in your sandbox, they’re not coming to simply “disrupt” recess, especially when they’ve brought their own toys. The first thing to figure out is why when there’s plenty of sand in other countries. The second thing to figure out is how, and I’m not talking about THEIR plans. I’m talking about how YOUR plans and processes make THEM the shiny new toys everyone wants to play with.
As it turns out, sand is sand pretty much anywhere you go (although I’m quite partial to Michigan sand). And there’s PLENTY of it to go around, which makes trying to differentiate sand an exercise in futility. Using acquisitions and mergers to build bigger sandboxes seems equally as futile, and much more expensive. Spending more just to get more area isn’t the same as building “up” to get greater exposure and easier accessibility.
Now that this new reality is getting settled in, expect the sands to be constantly shifting.