About Paul Paetz

Paul Paetz is Innovative Disruption Inc.'s Principal Disruption Consultant and CEO. Prior to starting Innovative Disruption, he accumulated over 25 years of experience working with technology companies in a variety of executive capacities including product management, sales, marketing, and P&L, and then as an independent marketing consultant, and finally as a disruption consultant with The Disruption Group before forming his own company.

Paul is the leading expert and practitioner of intentional disruption, and is the author of Disruption by Design: an executive guidebook to creating disruptive innovations on purpose. His book was acknowledged as one of the top technology business books of 2014 by the Consumer Electronics Association and featured as part of Gary's Book Club at CES 2015.

Paul is the creator of the Disruption Report Card and of the Disruption By Design Business Model Canvas (a free interactive tool for designing disruptive business models).

Paul also teaches disruption theory as an adjunct professor in Mercer University's MBA program.

Backstory (how we got here)

As Paul was building his resume in the technology industry, many of the companies he was exposed to and learned from -- whether they were employers, clients, partners or competitors -- had the potential to be disruptive innovators. Yet despite most having unique and powerful technologies, it seemed a completely random hit-or-miss proposition which companies broke through as big market successes. Companies with great products often failed to go anywhere, while others with decidedly inferior products often emerged as the winners. There was no obvious explanation -- even the expected fall-backs of great management, highly creative marketing, incredible salespeople or being first to market didn't hold up -- and "luck of the draw" wasn't a very satisfying answer.

Conventional wisdom held that the best products should win ("build a better mousetrap . . . "), but in truth, conventional analysis and predictions were no better than throwing darts at the wall. This was a puzzle to be solved, but for the short term, it wasn't obvious what the answer was. It did serve as a good starting point for discussions over beer.

Around the turn of the millennium, Paul read Clayton Christensen's "The Innovator’s Dilemma" and immediately recognized its explanatory power for which innovations won and lost and why. Later in 2003, an old friend was starting up a consultancy he called The Disruption Group. He had built a successful career as a research director for UBS using disruption theory to predict winners ahead of the market. (He was the first analyst to issue a BUY call on RIM based on his reading of the Blackberry as a powerful disruptor -- a prediction that came true and made RIM into a market leader until the iPhone started the disruption cycle over again.) He invited Paul to join him in this new venture, which eventually led to the formation of Innovative Disruption when his friend decided to return to the securities investment business.

In a parallel turn of fate, Paul predicted how the iPhone would disrupt the market and kill Blackberry, going against the opinions of both Christensen and his former partner who both said it wasn't disruptive, and his analysis from 2007 is particularly prescient in retrospect. In it he predicts Apple's sales and growth curves with remarkable accuracy, how it would topple Nokia and RIM and how long it would likely take, the birth of the not-yet-created App Store, and why the iPhone would go on to be one of the most important technology creations of our time. The secret, which is true of all big disruptive innovations and one of the hardest things to recognize, is that whether a product will disrupt or not is dependent on the "job to be done" that consumers choose it for, and therefore what market you compare it to. It's a big challenge for most, because we simply lack a frame of reference for markets that don't exist yet.

Why this matters to you

Paul's predictions and insights about disruption have been honed over the past 15 years, and today his knowledge of the disruption process and its causes is unmatched. This is critical, because if your industry is facing disruption, or if you have a potential disruptive innovation on your hands, mistakes in your strategy could be worth billions of dollars, and maybe even the failure of your business. Paul's experience, knowledge, understanding and ability to rapidly zero in on answers is your ace in the pocket.