Courtney Downey

Starting Up on the Right Track

“Their goal in ‘Breaking News’ is to encourage news executives to apply the lessons of disruption to the media industry as a means of charting new paths to survival and success.” – Clayton M. Christensen

So what does this mean?

According to the article, “Breaking News: Mastering the art of disruptive innovation in journalism” by Clayton M. Christensen, it is up to the organizations themselves to make the changes required to adapt to these new realities. And if they do not, then consumers will turn away.

He brings up Time magazine, which is a great example of what he is trying to reiterate. If Time had not evolved from its original 28-page, black-and-white weekly magazine, it would not be here today. Of course, today it faces new challenges because it hasn’t kept up with digital as quickly and effectively as newcomers — or disrupters — have.

The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, are making there way up the media food chain. How? They are delivering information that is faster and more personalized than what is provided by bigger, more established news organizations.

Yeah, I agree with that and I am a huge fan of those new-market disrupters. The problem is that major news organizations do not see these new-market disrupters as threats so they continue producing “quality” content, as Christensen says, while their audiences yearn for more original material.

Christensen says that the first and most important thing to remember is to consider your audience first. What do they want? What do they need? The basic idea of the jobs-to-be-done theory is that people do not go around looking for products to buy, however, they look for a solution when they face a problem. In other words, to find success, create a solution rather than a product that people are not really searching for.

“Live in the future, then build what seems interesting. Strange as it sounds, that’s the real recipe.” – Paul Graham


In the article, “How to Get Startup Ideas” by Paul Graham, he says that problems are important because one of the most common mistakes that startups make is to solve problems that nobody has. If you think about it, it makes sense. Consumers do not want to buy something they would “potentially” use one day, they want to buy things that they could use now and have a demand for.

Graham repeats the importance of “living in the future” numerous times throughout his article. Once you’re living in the future, he says, the way to notice startup ideas is to look for things that seem to be missing and build on them. Once you begin noticing all of the things that are missing, you will be on the right track.

The most important thing you need to do as you go through this process is to turn off the filters that stop you from noticing. In particular, Graham says to pay attention to things that annoy you, which took me off guard a little bit. But regardless, I think the point Graham is trying to get at is the relevance of thinking outside the box.

Both of these articles pose many words of advice to people who are trying to create a startup company. I think that this information is valuable and will inspire many people to go out on their own and search for problems that are interesting enough to become products which will affect the lives of people from all over the world.

2 thoughts on “Starting Up on the Right Track

  1. Hi Courtney,

    The connection you made between the two articles was great. From ending the first article on how to find solutions at a company was a great lead in to the How to Get Startup Ideas. It’s especially crucial how you mention the importance of “living in the future” because consumers need something they will be able to use immediately- great connection there. The last sentence you mentioned the inspiration for startup ideas can impact lives all over the world, I wonder if the method for startup ideas differs depending on one’s lifestyle. It would be interesting to look into.


  2. Courtney,

    Time and other news sources with a considerable legacy seem to have gotten complacent as media use has shifted towards digital. Buzzfeed and Huff Post, as you mentioned, have made some moves as disruptors in the industry. Do you think Buzzfeed and other comparable newcomers to the industry will get complacent and get replaced in the future? With what? What do we think is going to be the next disruption in news media, especially in digital formats?


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