RSPA Recommended Read: Disrupt You!

“RSPA Recommended Read” is a series of articles in which RSPA staff members share details from books we think would be helpful to leaders and aspiring leaders at VAR, MSP, ISV, and vendor member organizations.

By: Jim Roddy, VP of Marketing & VAR/ISV Business Advisor at the RSPA

Listening to Marc Randolph, the tech entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of Netflix, keynote the Sept. 1 ScanSource Virtual Partner Conference caused me to rummage through my office bookshelf – right in the middle of his talk. (That’s one of the advantages of virtual trade shows. Well, that and your feet don’t hurt afterwards.)

Randolph told the channel executives tuning in, “If you aren’t willing to disrupt yourself, you’re leaving it wide open for someone else to disrupt you.” That line caused me to immediately search for and dive into Disrupt You! by Jay Samit, which I first read in 2016.

Disrupt You! reverses the commonly held view of disruption, imploring business leaders to play offense and use disruption to reshape their business before the world morphs into a place where your value proposition is irrelevant. Following are 17 insightful quotes from the book that can be applied to VAR and ISV organizations – and that I’m sure Randolph would agree with:

  1. To stay relevant, you must keep your career in permanent beta. That means committing to a lifetime of learning and professional growth, a lifetime of strategic adaptation.
  2. Every successful disruptor must be willing to destroy their concepts and pivot their energies before the market can render their business obsolete.
  3. Being successful as a disruptor is about applying your unique experience and viewpoint to find opportunity.
  4. An “intrapreneur” disrupts from within the corporation, rather than waiting for the company to be attacked by external forces.
  5. Self-disruption is akin to undergoing major surgery, but you are the one holding the scalpel.
  6. Our lives and careers are determined by our acceptance or rejection of our perceived limitations.
  7. You can’t achieve dreams you don’t have.
  8. “Map out your future – but do it in pencil.” You don’t have to know where the road ends to start on your journey. You just have to know the direction in which you want to travel.

Visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

  1. The faster you can kill the bad ideas, the quicker you can pivot to the successful one. When you finally find the one idea that can’t be killed, go with it.
  2. Test, verify, and adjust is the only way to stay on course. Data has no ego and makes an excellent copilot.
  3. Just as Jesus had his apostles, you need to find a dozen consumers who are in your target demographic and bounce your ideas off them.
  4. Most startup failures result from entrepreneurs who are better at making excuses than products.
  5. No amount of capital can buy a long-term competitive advantage. “The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.”
  6. My theory was that by having all of our team in the position of speaking directly with our customers, we would build better software.
  7. “True disruption means threatening your existing product line and your past investments. Breakthrough products disrupt current lines of businesses.”
  8. History doesn’t remember those who maintained the status quo.
  9. No obstacle is so big that one person with determination can’t make a difference.

RSPA Recommended Read Rating: 9.25/10
In my prior Recommended Read post, I penned an 836-word, Mariana Trench-depth analysis of Excellence Wins, but today I’ll be more brief – like 750 words more brief – and I won’t even use my own words for the most part.

Samit says, “Be fearless when you know survival is at stake. Anything less is corporate suicide. Disrupt or be disrupted. There is no middle ground.”

My advice to VAR and ISV leaders: Don’t hesitate. Be fearless. Try, test, measure, and adapt until you create that impactful new product, service, or solution. Disrupt yourself. Today.

Don’t forget to visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

Jim Roddy is the Vice President of Marketing and a Business Advisor for the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as an RSPA board member, one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board, and several years as a business coach for VARs, ISVs, and MSPs. Jim has been recognized as one of the world’s Top 100 Retail Influencers by RETHINK Retail, a Leading CannaTech Influencer by 420MSP, and is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences on SMB best practices. He is author of two books – The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success and Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer – and is host of the award-winning RSPA Trusted Advisor podcast. For more information, contact