Here’s How To Counter-Disrupt The Disrupters At ‘The New Republic’ Who Hate Disruption


Judith Shulevitz of The New Republic has penned a diatribe against that most ubiquitous of all buzzwords: “disruption.” Basically, she’s sick of hearing it, but on a deeper level, she fears the assumption that change is always better — especially for fundamental philosophies like government and civic duty.

Instead of Cory Booker launching a video startup, in other words, he should just double-down focus on Newark’s entrenched poverty and crime. And California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom should just stop with his “Citizenville” lectures on disrupting the $192 government IT industry…better startups won’t plug California’s $335 billion budget hole.

All good points, of course, but here’s a — dare I say — disruptive thought: let’s disrupt the disrupters who call for an end to disruption. Because Ms. Shulevitz is clearly trying to be a contrarian, but unfortunately, she’s last in a long line of people tired of the phrase.

There’s Matt Yglesias, who talked about “disrupting disruption” in a Slate column in March; he thinks the word has distracted from the fact that many of the best startups are not disruptive so much as financially-solvent and well-managed.

Earlier this summer, Michael Barthel at Bullet Media wrote a post lambasting the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young* Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, claiming that handing out degrees in “disruption” is about as useful your average philosophy/journalism degree.

Forbes named “disruption” as one of “10 Overused Startup Buzzwords” in 2012.

Even PandoDaily agreed with Shulevitz, sending an e-mail to subscribers earlier this evening admonishing entrepreneurs to “rethink your company.” And as a rule of thumb, when Sarah Lacy and/or PandoDaily agree with a thought, the coolest move is to head the exact opposite philosophical direction.

So entrepreneurs, keep calling yourself “disruptive!” Or make it mean something completely different! Think outside the box!

Just please, journalists: no more anti-disruption columns.

That’s the catch-22 of being a professional pundit/writer– your thought-product is just as prone to shake-up as any technology.



*Andre Young=Dr. Dre. Disruptin’ your eardrums since ’84.