Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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RSS as Disruptive Innovation

September 3rd, 2003 · No Comments

F. Andy Seidl writes:

Clayton Christensen’s excellent book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, describes the conditions under which an emerging technology can suddenly become capable of replacing an existing, well-established technologya process known as disruption. A common theme is that the emerging technology matures addressing an unrelated market segment. E-mail, Weblogs, and RSS fit the model, beautifully.

E-mail is the killer app of killer apps; well established, widely adopted, and from most perspectives, invincible. RSS is a simple, de-facto standard for syndicating web content. RSS was never intended to threaten e-mail and, until recently it did not. But, to paraphrase an expression, Unintended Consequences Happen. RSS turned out to be very valuable in the world of Weblogs. Weblogs presented a great opportunity for RSS to solve real problems andand this is a big “and”mature in the process.

Simultaneously, e-mail has become plagued with spam, greatly altering the value proposition of e-mail, in general. And guess what? RSS offers spam-free communication channels. Suddenly, the relative value propositions of e-mail vs. RSS begin to look different.

I agree that RSS is a “disruptive innovation” – not as much in the context of email, but information publishing and distribution.


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