Today change, disruption and opportunities happens at the edges. Companies typically don’t get disrupted in the core of their competencies but from left field. Hotel chains don’t get killed by other hotel chains but by AirBnB. Camera manufacturers aren’t displaced by other camera companies but by smartphones.
Which leads to two important consequences: If you are the incumbent you need to become paranoid about your peripheral vision, constantly scanning for threads and opportunity on the edges of what you do. For startups it means something very different:
You need to figure out which business you are really in.
As the often quoted example goes: A drill manufacturer is not in the business of selling drills but getting holes into walls.
Generally speaking you are never in the business of making or selling a gadget or service but in the business of solving your customers’ problems. And once you have identified the business you are truly in, you can become strategic about scanning the periphery, identify new opportunities and disrupt your chosen space.