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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Banks, wine and taxi – disruptive innovation for the people

I have been spending a lot of time reading this month. Partly because I have more time but also because I have gained much more joy in reading than I have ever felt before. I would like to share with you a jaw dropping expos̩ published by the Rolling Stone РThe Vampire Squid Strikes Again. Frankly when I read the title, a funny image came to my mind. I imagined a gigantic deep sea squid with fangs holding light sabers in its tentacles.

As I started to read the article in detail, the laughter in my head changed into a horrendous cry of shock and terror. We know that the income gap is widening in the world. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, the system we live by created that outcome.

Someone once told me that the people deserve the country they live in. The people voted for people who is in power. I have always been skeptical about this argument. Some causes only affect the minority. For example, in Singapore, the government recently announced health care plan for the old and the needy. In my honest opinion, I think this is long overdue. Singapore is a rather unforgiving society in a way that the old and the needy who don’t contribute to the country’s economy are put in the back burner. If you apply the argument that people deserve the government they voted for then I must contest that the old and the needy are minority in Singapore. Their votes may not be enough to effect changes they want to see for themselves. So, I can’t say I agree with this argument.

However, I am hopeful that there are people who dare to dream and make changes for themselves instead of relying on the government to make the right change. People who dare to disrupt big industries that are traditionally dominated by big corporations. Simple is an example that make traditional banking simpler and frankly, better. There is also the wine industry. The founder of Naked Wine – Rowan, faced a time where the rules of the industry was not in favor of him. He changed the rule by putting the power back into the winemakers and the consumers. In the similar industry, though less disruptive, there is Bottles of Joy that sells wine through education and seamless wine delivery service. Bringing traditional business online is nothing new but doing away with traditional marketing and market through education is refreshing. In a total new industry is the highly talked about messaging apps. There are several messaging apps sprouted after the success of Watsapp and its equivalent. I was curious to see what innovation can one bring to the table in this new field. WeChat expanded into a taxi booking platform and has seen success.

As I see more and more of such disruptive innovation that caters to the need to the people, I stay hopeful that people can change the world. We live in a time where such challenges are welcome by the public and is supported by the people.

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