The TechCrunch Disrupt conference has always been a strange name for a conference, since almost every startup showing there has been a clone of another larger more popular startup. I have only seen one or two startups I thought had the potential to be disruptive there.
I have literally had conversations with founders there that went,
“So tell me how you are different from Facebook,”
“Well we built our entire platform on node so it is infinitely scalable”
“Is that a problem with Facebook now? That it doesn’t scale?”
“Well no, but we also re-imagined the interface”
“It looks like facebook, if Facebook was done in Twitter Bootstrap”
“That’s exactly Right!”
“Did users ask for that?”
“Well No, but we also added support for sharing code snippets”
“That’s interesting, so it is really a Facebook for Developer communities”
“Do you think most people’s mom and 4th grade English teacher want to see the code snippets in your timeline?”
“We don’t really have a timeline, everything shared happens in realtime like the front page of hacker news”
“So if my friends want to see the pictures I took last week of my trip to Belize they can’t see them?”
If you want to be disruptive you have to do something truly new. Something that will change the way everyone else does things. You also have to be prepared for all the knock-offs that might have better marketing, or better connections, so you should also have a bit of something no one can duplicate in your core.
The Disrupt conference has always been a showing of MVP’s and betas that aren’t even an MVP. But disruption occurs when you have something that is more than an MVP it is a Product no one can live without afterwards.