The time was six in the afternoon. I remember it, because it was always about then that my friend Rahul and I would walk over the Emeryville BART station from the MyPersonal offices in an old submarine factory.
It was late 2000, and we had just gone through a few rounds of lay offs. The entire Bay Area seemed to get silent overnight, and a crowded coffee shop that was constantly buzzing with energy, dreams and techies, was closed.
“Let’s go hang out on the grass.” Rahul and I went to a grassy hill and as I imagined so many of our friends were doing, started to discuss what we were going to do next.
“Cheaper, better, faster. That’s the answer.” Rahul started. “So many of the startups that are dying are none of those. They are just different.”
Since then, I have always kept that mantra in my thoughts as I review and mentor startups. Are you really, cheaper, better, faster, or just different?
We seem to be entering a phase where most companies are just different. And that different isn’t enough to see them through to success. There is nothing to compete on, only the hope that the users of the other services like yours decide that your different is a better different, and therefore make a change.
It goes for the same with the word ‘disruption’. In my homage to Jason Fried, I hate the word disruption.
Somewhere, we started to believe that in order to truly disrupted an industry or industry leader, we had to replace them. Do you think that in reality Uber believes that one day there will be no taxis? Do you think AirBnb believes there will be no hotels?
Disruption is sometimes just improvements in efficiency and making the industry better. Uber makes the taxi industry better by injecting efficiency into the system. AirBnb makes the hotel industry better by creating an alternative marketplace that is cheaper, better, faster.
This reality is what drives us at Graphicly. We are not trying to replace the publishing industry. Or destroy Kindle, iBooks, etc. We are trying to develop a solid bridge between publishers and the digital world, so that publishers can focus on what they do best: promotion and creativity.
By focusing on cheaper, better, faster our customers' lives are improved. At a lower price point, our customers can easily convert, distribute and promote their content more quickly than going to places like Amazon, Apple and Barnes&Noble directly.
Cheaper, Better, Faster. Disruptive.