Disruption Ahead

Great article about barefoot running and the potential for impact on shoe companies today in the NYT. It’s a good read, and really represents a classic story archetype – the role of disruption in business. Setting aside for just a moment the topic, let’s look at the elements of the story:

  • Established business
  • Unconventional alternatives
  • Inconclusive data
  • Compelling color bits on the side of the insurgents
  • Passionate advocacy on both sides
  • Money to be made/lost

What you get is a story that follows a very predictable course – an established industry working to protect their profits from a scrappy and uncoordinated band of people working to disrupt them. It doesn’t matter if you are an insurgent or a category/industry leader, you better understand how this story archetype will play out before stepping into a story.

Of course, I like this story too because I’ve been following the debate and trying to evolve my running (or, basically over the last six weeks, my lack of running) to try and move away from classic running shoes to something a bit more barefoot. Jury, as they say, is still out, but I do recommend the book “Born to Run” as a good look at the overall trend and thinking.

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