Facebook is in rare company. Microsoft, to its credit, disrupted its Office product suite by introducing the ribbon (which was probably a great change for my mom, but drives me a bit crazy), and more recently disrupted its Windows suite. But I’m having trouble thinking of other companies that have taken their core product and fundamentally changed it in a way that is both disruptive to its end users and unavoidable.
Recently, I’ve started to use Salesforce.com’s CRM. Although Salesforce is a huge step up from the other CRM I was using, it’s clear that the application was designed several years ago and has since evolved but hasn’t fundamentally gone through any disruptions. While the UI/UX must have been a dramatic, disruptive improvement upon other legacy CRMs when it launched, as it continues to evolve, it might one day find itself surprised by a new, shiny startup that takes advantage of the last five years of technology innovation (both technically and UI/UX-wise).
Obviously, there’s a reason why you don’t see a lot of disruption. It’s incredibly difficult to execute, and unbelievably risky. Large companies aren’t known for pursuing risky strategies. But could a Marc Benioff look to Mark Zuckerberg as a disruptive role model? Crazier things have happened. Facebook is leading the way not only by example, but by lowering the riskiness of disruption by forcing its 800m+ users to better embrace change.