Channel technologies

Airbnb, Uber: Let’s Put Tired Disruption Stories to Bed


It's getting painful. Attend a major IT vendor conference, and the host describes how Airbnb and Uber are disrupting the traditional hospitality and transportation markets.

After the big IT vendor delivers a big serving of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), they typically describe how their technologies can either (A) help you become a disrupter or (B) avoid being disrupted.

Alas, I heard that very message -- again -- at a conference in Orlando. Alas, the Airbnb and Uber examples are getting extremely tired at face to face events, and in social media feeds.

Who Are 2017's Disrupters and Innovators?

Without pointing to a specific offender, I get the sense that many big IT vendors can't name major disrupters beyond the Airbnb and Uber examples. Nor can they point to specific examples within their own partner ecosystems, where partners helped customers to actually define or disrupt a market.

No doubt, big IT vendors remain important in the technology ecosystem. Their converged infrastructures, hybrid cloud and public cloud offerings provide important pieces in the larger IT services puzzle.

But sometimes I wonder: Have big IT vendors looked beyond their own partner events to attend:

Forget about the keynotes at those conferences. Instead, walk the halls and check out the side sessions -- where tomorrow's disrupters are emerging below the typical radar.

Not Exactly New

As you look at tomorrow's disrupters, consider this: Airbnb was founded in 2008 -- about a year after the original iPhone launched. Uber was launched in 2009. I wonder:

  • At what point did big IT vendors finally recognize those companies as disrupters?
  • At what point will those big IT vendors finally recognize the disrupters that were born in 2015 and 2016?
  • And perhaps most importantly: How many of those "new" disrupters will the big IT vendors actually help to create?

It's a safe bet many of the disrupters will be ISVs running on public clouds like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and perhaps IBM Cloud/SoftLayer. Time to shift the spotlight to those new disrupters -- if we all can find them.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.