But for the sake of its future, the company directed a key group of employees to forget about what those demanding customers wanted and needed. The firm even ignored what its top tech talent, and its CEO, thought was best.
And instead of pursuing what had made perfectly good business sense for years, it threw itself into a new and unproven product with uncertain prospects.
Results won't be known for a while. In the meantime, though,
But for all the success of PKZip and its encrypted iteration, SecureZip, the core product has remained remarkably stable for more than 20 years.
"The longevity of it," said
And it keeps him up at night. What Christensen terms "disruptive innovation" -- the notion that successful businesses are vulnerable to radical change advanced by upstart companies with no stake in existing practices -- is something Newton knows about first-hand.
He ran Monster.com in the late '90s as the online site for recruitment advertising was gaining traction. Within just a few years, Monster had bitten off a significant chunk of newspapers' help-wanted classifieds. And since 2000, while Monster and its Internet cousins have thrived, U.S. newspapers have lost 90% of their once-lucrative employment classifieds business.
Now Newton is surveying the competitive landscape not from the perspective of a surging upstart but as a potentially threatened incumbent.
'Pipeline was bare'
"We knew that our product pipeline was bare here," Newton said, "and growth is how you create value in a software company -- any company....We came into this investment understanding that we would need to start working on new products."
That's where Christensen -- or at least his ideas -- figure in. A
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