Keys to Being Disruptive in the Digital Age
Richard Hollis, Founder & CEO, Holonis Inc.
“The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.” - Albert Einstein
In today’s age of technology and the Internet, it is no longer enough to be status quo - you have to provide an impact of disruption and “virality” that surrounds your product and radically improve how things are done. Your customers need to experience the “wow” factor that makes them want to rave about your company and spread the word that elicits the “viral loop” across the internet (word of web). Whether it’s a car taxi service, an on-demand online streaming of movies and shows, or an application that tracks your health, the digital age has introduced us to great technology that has disrupted the way things were and improved our lives. As a CEO today I am often asked: What is the key to being disruptive? How were you able to build your company to where it is today? What advice do you have to offer to budding entrepreneurs and executives to become successful?
There are several components to becoming disruptive in the digital age that go beyond the product, service, or technology that you have to offer. My current company, Holonis, Inc., would not be the technology it is today without the essential building blocks that made it come to life. As an experienced and seasoned CEO with over 30 years of experience, I have learned many hard lessons and it all boils down to these core factors:
Taking a risk
The beginning of starting your own company or being a CEO that represents a brand is no trivial pursuit – it is a big responsibility that takes risk. Risk-taking can be a foolish gamble or it can be an educated and well-thought-out move. Today a CEO needs to be bold and be comfortable with ambiguity until the answers become available. Listening to feedback and making adjustments when markets are moving fast is mandatory. Speed wins and reduces risk. Taking the risk to create something innovative that can make a difference in the world, even if it means starting from scratch, requires a passion to create value. Sometimes you have to risk going into unfamiliar territory to discover paths and roads that only reveal themselves through action and the fortitude, persistence, and passion to deliver a disruptive technology.
Get with the right people
Acting on your vision and taking a risk is only as good as the team you build around you. Value creation through innovation utilizing technology takes smart, creative people with the skills and commitment to deliver a product. Therefore the most vital component of translating the vision into a reality is people, and recruiting the right people will determine the success or failure of the vision. They have to believe the vision is worth fighting for and they want to make a difference of contributing value to society.
Provide servant leadership
Behind every great vision and team is leadership. A leader must be the face of the company that people believe in and trust. As an executive of a team you must merit qualities of integrity, strength, authenticity, and the ability to bring out the best in others. Serving others to be the best they can be is servant leadership. With every company that I have been with, I have learned that without strong leadership, execution is next to impossible. Being a leader, you must inspire each individual to rise to the occasion, see their potential and understand their purpose in the company.
Execute your vision
Start bringing your passions to life and act on your vision. Vision, leadership, execution and committed people build great companies and cultures. This attracts talent that enables the best that is within them to be expressed in their work, contributing to the company’s vision and success. Through their hard work, dedication and continual iteration, a vision comes to life.
At Holonis, Inc., a company I founded over five years ago during the Great Recession, I was able to pivot my career into the digital realm with a vision to create the world’s first smarter marketplace of the internet following the above principles in this new era of disruptive technology. I believe that Holonis represents a new ecosystem that will empower business owners and consumers alike in this new digital age of the twenty first century.
As a CEO and entrepreneur, not only do you have to see the opportunity in the market - you have to seize it. Let your vision take form as you take that leap and watch the possibilities unfold for your company.
About the Author
In his current capacity, Richard Hollis is the founder and CEO of Holonis Inc., based in San Diego, California. He used his unique blend and scope of experiences to build a talented group of young Internet thought leaders in 2010, each of whom have achieved individual successes and were eager to be among the architects of the next wave of Internet evolution. The team formulated a vision of creating the first fully integrated social media business platform. Holonis thereby empowers businesses of all sizes with integrated technology that is fun, easy, and cost effective to use, the goal in mind is to catapult and reboot the economy for all users into the forefront of the rapidly evolving digital revolution.