I think the term “disruptive” is overused in the startup world. Not every successful startup is disruptive, and not many disruptive startups are successful. Disruptive products change behavior and industries … forever. If you want to be disruptive, first you have to find something that people either want or need changed. A good way to figure that out is to experience it firsthand.
For me, I am a system engineer (big nerd) and always hated using electronic test tools like oscilloscopes and logic analyzers to figure out what was going wrong with my products. Cracking open a product to get to its insides can be a massive pain (“#$!*@”). Finding where to connect test probes is almost always infuriating or impossible (“$#@!*”). Blowing up the device because I stick a probe in the wrong place really sucks (“@$!#*”). If I get through those hurdles, the usability of scopes/analyzers rivals that of programming a VCR from 1980 (“!#@*$”). The biggest problem of all is that it takes way too much time and all too often ends without success (“$@#*!”). So, I did what most of my colleagues did; I rarely ever used these devices. I would rather swap out parts, guess, and jab a pencil in my eye than spend all day in the lab filling up the cuss jar (thank God there was no actual cuss jar). It finally hit me what all those four-letter words were telling me – disrupt this!