Disrupt the Disrupters

Twenty years ago, most big companies would run just a handful of big, expensive experiments each year. Today, the most innovative businesses run thousands – Intuit: 1,300, P&G: 7,000–10,000, Google: 7,000, Amazon: 1,976, and Netflix: 1,000 – thanks to a combination of new technologies and “lean” business approaches:


  • The cost to do experiments has gone down by orders of magnitude.

  • New breakthrough experiments can be done that couldn’t be done before.


Companies that deploy these “experimentation engines” are able to buck conventional wisdom on disruption theory. Instead of being disrupted by low cost entrants, they are disrupting the disruptors. An experimentation engine is company-wide platform and culture that empowers employees to quickly, rigorously, and easily test innovative ideas and share the results with others.

The thesis of this White Paper is that to build an enduring enterprise in an era of rapid change, all companies must deploy an experimentation engine at scale. In an era where all forms of sustainable competitive advantage are being destroyed, the only source of long-lasting advantage will come from having an experimentation engine.

In other words, to succeed in the future companies must apply the principles of the scientific method (observe, hypothesize, test, measure) across their organization and build a testing platform that empowers customers, employees, and vendors to create their own experiments. This thesis is put succinctly by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, “Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.”

The experimentation engine is not just another strategy to combat disruption. It is THE strategy. And, until now, there has never been a resource on how to create one.

Disrupt the Disrupters



Twenty years ago, most big companies would run just a handful of big, expensive experiments each year. Today, the most innovative businesses run thousands – Intuit: 1,300, P&G: 7,000–10,000, Google: 7,000, Amazon: 1,976, and Netflix: 1,000 – thanks to a combination of new technologies and “lean” business approaches:


  • The cost to do experiments has gone down by orders of magnitude.

  • New breakthrough experiments can be done that couldn’t be done before.


Companies that deploy these “experimentation engines” are able to buck conventional wisdom on disruption theory. Instead of being disrupted by low cost entrants, they are disrupting the disruptors. An experimentation engine is company-wide platform and culture that empowers employees to quickly, rigorously, and easily test innovative ideas and share the results with others.

The thesis of this White Paper is that to build an enduring enterprise in an era of rapid change, all companies must deploy an experimentation engine at scale. In an era where all forms of sustainable competitive advantage are being destroyed, the only source of long-lasting advantage will come from having an experimentation engine.

In other words, to succeed in the future companies must apply the principles of the scientific method (observe, hypothesize, test, measure) across their organization and build a testing platform that empowers customers, employees, and vendors to create their own experiments. This thesis is put succinctly by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, “Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.”

The experimentation engine is not just another strategy to combat disruption. It is THE strategy. And, until now, there has never been a resource on how to create one.

In order to compete with this 800lb Gorilla, you need to realize that it isn’t just a company; it’s an economy.

What business is Amazon actually in?

If this is the question you’re asking, you’ve already lost. This is a typical question you’d ask about a typical company. Amazon, on the other hand, breaks every box that people try to put it in. In order to compete with the behemoth, you need to start asking yourself a different question: is Amazon even a company in the traditional way we think of companies?

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In order to compete with this 800lb Gorilla, you need to realize that it isn’t just a company; it’s an economy.

What business is Amazon actually in?

If this is the question you’re asking, you’ve already lost. This is a typical question you’d ask about a typical company. Amazon, on the other hand, breaks every box that people try to put it in. In order to compete with the behemoth, you need to start asking yourself a different question: is Amazon even a company in the traditional way we think of companies?

Learn More

If you want an example of how to build a brand today, there’s no better place to look than Burning Man, the festival that takes place annually in the heart of the Nevada desert. Anyone involved with Burning Man would swear that it is completely devoid of ‘marketing,' and that is precisely what makes it brilliant marketing, circa 2017.

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If you want an example of how to build a brand today, there’s no better place to look than Burning Man, the festival that takes place annually in the heart of the Nevada desert. Anyone involved with Burning Man would swear that it is completely devoid of ‘marketing,' and that is precisely what makes it brilliant marketing, circa 2017.

Learn More

Twenty-odd years ago, most big companies would run just a handful of experiments each year. Today, the most innovative businesses run thousands–Intuit: 1,300, P&G: 7,000–10,000, Google: 7,000, Amazon: 1,976, and Netflix: 1,000–thanks to a combination of new technologies and “lean” business approaches. And it isn’t just quantity that’s rising but the quality and pace of experimentation, too. These days, the true test of how innovative a company can be is how well it experiments.

Learn More

Twenty-odd years ago, most big companies would run just a handful of experiments each year. Today, the most innovative businesses run thousands–Intuit: 1,300, P&G: 7,000–10,000, Google: 7,000, Amazon: 1,976, and Netflix: 1,000–thanks to a combination of new technologies and “lean” business approaches. And it isn’t just quantity that’s rising but the quality and pace of experimentation, too. These days, the true test of how innovative a company can be is how well it experiments.

Learn More

In 2012, Netflix found itself in an existential crisis. Its very favorable content licensing deal with Starz ended. Even a $300 million offer to continue licensing Starz’s catalog, 10 times the 2008 price, was not enough, and the deal fell through. Hulu, a Netflix killer that included the catalogs of Disney, Time Warner, and 21st Century Fox, was proving to be a formidable competitor. Finally, Netflix was reeling from a debacle that led to an 80% drop in the stock’s value.

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In 2012, Netflix found itself in an existential crisis. Its very favorable content licensing deal with Starz ended. Even a $300 million offer to continue licensing Starz’s catalog, 10 times the 2008 price, was not enough, and the deal fell through. Hulu, a Netflix killer that included the catalogs of Disney, Time Warner, and 21st Century Fox, was proving to be a formidable competitor. Finally, Netflix was reeling from a debacle that led to an 80% drop in the stock’s value.

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Over the last month, part of my daily routine has been visiting RealClearPolitics to get an unbiased prediction of who was going to be the next Commander-In-Chief of The United States. Every time I refreshed the site, which aggregates dozens of the most statistically rigorous national polls, the consensus was unanimous: Clinton was going to win.

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Over the last month, part of my daily routine has been visiting RealClearPolitics to get an unbiased prediction of who was going to be the next Commander-In-Chief of The United States. Every time I refreshed the site, which aggregates dozens of the most statistically rigorous national polls, the consensus was unanimous: Clinton was going to win.

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Each year we make personal New Years resolutions for one reason: We want to change, to be better versions of ourselves .

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Each year we make personal New Years resolutions for one reason: We want to change, to be better versions of ourselves .

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