Today’s post is a review of a book I’ve recently been soaking up, called Disruption Revolution: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & the New Rules of Leadership. It was written by David Passiak, who was once a scholar of religion. His focus then was on how emerging communications technologies tended to coincide with periods of religious, political and cultural/social innovation, from the “Great Awakenings” of the 1700s and 1800s catalyzed by innovations in the printing press, through the Civil Rights and Sixties counterculture movements accelerated by the mass adoption of radio, television, film and music (see https://www.disruptrev.com/author-david-passiak/).
Passiak left academia though to pursue a career in innovative technologies consulting, working for companies like Volkswagen and a number of start-ups. He also founded a company called Social Meditate, an innovation and strategy consulting firm.
Disruption Revolution is a collection of interviews with a laundry list of successful leaders in the arena of tech innovation, from those who are more design-inclined to Harvard Business School professors and New Economy media moguls such as the editor of PandoDaily – a site reporting on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship. These chapters provide perspective on the technology that’s driving changes in our business landscape, as well as on the mentalities and approaches that seem to bode best for innovators and entrepreneurs.
The book also contains an interview with Vincent Horn, an entrepreneur I recently spoke with myself about his site http://www.buddhistgeeks.com. Horn’s interest, and the galvanizing force of BuddhistGeeks, is the intersection (or perhaps more accurately, overlap) between technology and mindfulness. His thesis is, basically, that not only can we have both, but we must. And he, along with his partner Emily Horn, have succeeded in building a community of thought on this subject, not just a platform for their own beliefs (visit the site to see what I mean…).
Another piece in the book that spoke to me featured a conversation with Jeremiah Owyang, an expert on the emerging collaborative economy. His interest is in the big crowd companies (i.e. Zipcar, Airbnb, etc.) as opposed to smaller-scale, more private enterprises you might find out about upon researching sharing law (also known as the sharing economy). The emphasis here is on the burgeoning prevalence of companies that seek to provide services to customers within the confines of people’s various financial situations. The idea is, people are wanting less and less to ‘own’ things in a traditional sense (i.e. vacuums or even houses), both because the cost of these things is so expensive, and because of social media, they simply don’t need to. “Sharing” rides or tools or places to stay for temporary or even extended periods of time is becoming more and more the substance of commerce. Disruption Revolution explains this and contextualizes what it means for the future of entrepreneurship in our society moving forward.
One last tidbit I’ll share (pun intended) is how much I enjoyed the chapters on leadership, in which the ‘monsters in your head’ and the concept of “choosing yourself” in the process of negotiations are discussed. The themes here revolve around being in touch with what has brought you to the place of decision-making you are at, being clear about why you are there, and being open and honest with even your competition in order to achieve the best results. Game-playing in the New Economy, the experts are even telling us, is stupid. Authenticity is key. Being present with your own intentions and through that being aware of others’ intentions is essential. And through all of that, tapping into your intuition to guide you in discerning the right moves for you and your business is perhaps what matters most.
As a law student, and as an entrepreneur, I’ve found this volume super interesting. It flies in the face of much that we learn in school growing up, and certainly in the face of what we hear in the mainstream media about what makes for a successful leader and business person. It’s not about assuming you are right, it’s about being able to question, and from there, deriving vision and confidence. Then comes the translation of vision to others, the attraction of capital, and the capacity to make real what you see.