August 26, 2011- Disrupt Yourself in our Dropout Economy

This is Whitney Johnson’s Disrupt Yourself Video from Ted Talks that has been “creating some ripples” in my life, inspiring me to reevaluate my life.  In stock speak, this video has been causing me those wild small spikes that signal perhaps possible reversals or changes in direction. A few weeks back, I mentioned Linda Kaplan Thaler’s and Robin Koval’s  “The Power of Small”.  Now, when the copy gets out, I’ll probably find time to get myself a copy of Whitney Johnson’s interesting journey to dare, dream and do.  Her book is “Dare-Dream-Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream”.

Here’s a quick backgrounder about Ms. Whitney Johnson:

“In leaving Wall Street, I was not only walking away from the money (7 figures) that came with my position, but from a certain level of prestige and power as well. I had worked for over a decade to develop relationships with Latin American business leaders, several of whom were on Forbes’ billionaire list. These influencers were now reading my research, meeting with me, quoting me, and even occasionally quaking when I’d downgrade their stock.  Notwithstanding the considerable career and financial (I am the primary breadwinner) risks involved, it was time to leave my comfortable perch and become an entrepreneur. “

Reference Article: Thank You to Om Says, found it via his blog 😀  Here’s the complete article : “Disrupt Yourself” by Whitney Johnson


On Planning

 “Dear You. If you ask for pro forma projections about what disrupting yourself will look like, you are wasting your time. Stop it.”

On a personal note, let me tell you that I didn’t even think about writing a blog and keeping it regularly.  Having a girlfriend was not in any of my immediate plans either.  I wouldn’t have projected it five years ago, and I will never be able to project what I’ll be doing three years from now.  Most people like to plan things.  They say if you don’t plan, you’re planning to fail.    I personally believe that planning while it has its own merits, can only at best be outlines.  I will never limit myself from taking an option that can be greatly more rewarding  just because I planned to do something concrete a few years when I was younger.  We can always be specific on our short term goals (such as waking up 7am early morning to read news online for instance, and getting an hour of exercise after work ends etc).  We have our routines etc, but our careers cannot always be just about clockworks where at age 27 we study for an MBA or take a masters etc. , have a family by age XYZ for instance, (the median family age in Brazil is currently 34 by the way, as there’s rising inflation, and all the expenses going around in the world.)  I just don’t believe in clockworks, even if there can be biological clockworks for my loved one.  Perhaps, I’m spirited and spontaneous.  That’s just me.  The best pro forma projection I can only see myself is that I’ll be continuing trading and improving well, but as to whether I’m doing that while also handling a business (possible).  I’m never going to say never.  Justin Bieber was right after all.

On Taking Roads Less Travelled

Firms seeking growth via new markets are 6x more likely to succeed than firms seeking growth by entering established markets, and the revenue opportunity is 20x greater. It’s counterintuitive, isn’t it? When we start in a place where no one else wants to play, where the scope of the opportunity appears limited, the odds of success actually improve.

I am going to tell you a story that sounds very familiar to most of you.  It will feel common sense today, but it seemed so counter intuitive then.  You see, most of the Filipino investors before didn’t believe in online trading (and this was YEAR 2006!).  CitisecOnline used to just cost Php1.36 when it was first issued to the public.  As of current writing, the stock trades north of  Php 20.  True, there are new entrants in the online trading market.  There’s BPI trade, there’s First Metro and Wealth Securities but the first mover already corners around 20% of the market share from over 130 brokers in the current landscape.  TEL which sought growth in the C and D markets didn’t fail, as Smart subscribers surpassed Globe’s dominance in the post paid markets.  I can go on and on, explaining about “The blue ocean strategy” (i never got to read that book though), but in which case, being creative instead of competitive is essentially the science of getting rich (Reference to Mr. Wallace Wattles (author of Science of Getting Rich) – will make a book review on that soon.  Finished and loved it!).

Try going where no one else has gone to play.

On Knowing Your True Worth, The Dropout Economy etc

The most overlooked engine of growth is the individual. If you are really looking to move the world forward, begin by innovating on the inside, and disrupt yourself.

In my experience, the stocks that trade at fair value or even a premium to their peers are those that know what kind of stock they are, and then deliver, whether “disruptive innovation — emerging growth,” “sustaining innovation — best-of-breed,” or “being-disrupted — but dividend-paying.”

When you know exactly what your value proposition is, rather than perpetually trading at a discount, you’ll command the premium you deserve.

Time writes in the “Dropout Economy” that instead of the long hours spent staring at blinking computer screens, new jobs that we can scarcely imagine will take their place, only they’ll tend to be home-based, thus restoring life to bedroom suburbs that today are ghost towns from 9 to 5.

The truth is, I’m a little bit excited despite the fact that we are in a very scary, disruptive dropout economy today.  The United States of America is waking up to the fact that stable jobs where your boss tells you what to do will no longer be enough in the future.  We need to be able to experiment in newer ways to learn, newer ways to live and specialize in making ourselves unique and providing high-end, personalized services to our niches.  If we are simply going to be commodities, we’ll never pass for a high-grade income.  The future economy is about networks of farmers using sophisticated techniques that combine cutting-edge green technologies with ancient Mayan know-how build an alternative food-distribution system.  Rather than warehouse children in factory schools invented to instill obedience in the future mill workers of America, bourgeois rebels will educate their kids in virtual schools tailored to different learning styles.

College is an overpriced status marker and little else.

I’d recommend most readers to check out these interesting, disruptive businesses all archived in Cool Business Ideas.

I particularly liked the following:

1.) The N-spired Story: The Interactive T-Shirt

The N-spired Story: Writing the book of the world one interactive t-shirt at a time! from The N-spired Story on Vimeo.

2.) Garden in a bottle

3.) Dream in a bubble

4.) Open Study – Massive Live Study Sessions –

Education-focused startup OpenStudy is a platform for “massively multi-player study groups.”

Having just come out of beta in February OpenStudy now has 40,000 registered students in over 1,500 schools in 143 countries. There are 20,000 questions being asked monthly in the math group alone.

Watch here:

This post is dedicated to Steve Jobs, who simply gave me the confidence to disrupt myself, as well as many others.  Thank you. Hat Tip to Om Malik’s article– Steve Jobs and The Sound of Silence too.

It is incredibly hard for me to write right now. To me, like many of you, it is an incredibly emotional moment. I cannot look at Twitter, and through the mist in my eyes, I am having a tough time focusing on the screen of this computer. I cannot hear the sounds of the street or the ring of my phone. The second hand on my watch moves slowly, ever so slowly. I want to wake up and find it was all a nightmare.

“Some men dream the future. He built it.”

I’ll never forget the Think Different commercial in the 1970s.  It changed my life the moment I saw it.

Because people who are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who do – Apple

– The Faceless Trader


About Abc

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2 Responses to August 26, 2011- Disrupt Yourself in our Dropout Economy

  1. JL says:

    great post FT!

    as casey kasem always says … “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

    p.s.: now i know where the “round pegs” chuva came from 😉
    p.s.s: ur GF sure is a lucky girl 🙂


    • hello jesse, haha. 🙂 If I’ll have my own company someday, perhaps one way or another… round pegs will be out there either in the beliefs , vision, mission section or what. It’s really such a profound commercial in my life.


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