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It Pays to Be a Friendly Disruptor

Just because you intend to disrupt an industry doesn't mean you have to alienate said industry's leaders. In fact, making enemies will only hurt your company's prospects.

Gideon Kimbrell writes at VentureBeat that entrepreneurs who try to push against stale industry norms will inevitably have to weather pushback. That’s the way things work for disruptors. Companies who fear your impact on the industry will try to discredit you. You have to hope your idea is strong enough to withstand.

But just because you’re the source of a disruptive product or service doesn’t mean you have to be hated by the stalwarts of your industry. In fact, it may be a better idea to try and build good relationships with your competitors rather than quickly make enemies. Kimbrell explains:

“Believe it or not, connecting with industry players can propel your startup to success. When you build rapport, you can stop watching your back and start creating new alliances and forging deeper relationships instead. You can also make the most of your new network’s experience to build a better product.”

As an example of the contrary approach, Kimbrell points to a company that now has to wade through the murky waters of a bad reputation because of decisions it made when emerging onto the market:

“Take Uber, for example. While the company didn’t need to play nice with the incumbent taxi drivers and other transportation services, it did need to come across as a friendly young startup for as long as possible. But in recent months, Uber has been plagued by the perception that it’s out for blood, inspiring thousands to delete the app after learning about some of its practices and its threats to reporters. Ultimately, Uber will thrive because it represents a powerful idea whose time has come, but it could’ve avoided this bump on its road to success.”

For more on strategies for being the Ms. Congeniality of disruption, take a look at Kimbrell’s full piece (linked below) and be sure let us know what you think in the comments.

Read more at VentureBeat

Image credit: Dooder / Shutterstock


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