Clay Christensen on Uber, Strategy & Jobs-to-be-Done

By Scott Kirsner |  April 26, 2016

Earlier this month, InnoLead editor Scott Kirsner interviewed Clay Christensen of Harvard Business School onstage at the annual TIE StartupCon. They discussed Uber and disruptive business models; why a winning strategy is only temporary; Christensen’s work with the Department of Defense; and the need to set up separate teams away from the core business to focus on disruption. Christensen also touched on the changes that happen as a business grows from startup into a larger organization — from having no data to having too much data:


“When you’re in the mode of building a business, there’s no data. There’s a job needing to be done… You make a decision based upon questions and based upon theories, but there’s no data. As the company moves from the startup stage, all of a sudden data comes in from every direction, and you have to respond to the data. Very quickly, you lose your understanding of the original job to be done. You think of the way the business has been structured — by product category, customer category, geographic territory, and so on. As the business becomes more mature, the language shifts from a language of questions to a language of answers. These are numerical in character. [Managers] lose their instinct for asking questions.”