Saturday, March 21, 2009

Flip Video Acquired by Cisco: Disruptive Innovation at Work

When I first saw and then purchased a Flip video camera in 2007, I knew I was experiencing a classic example of disruptive innovation. Instead of adding more bells and whistles to impress high-end users of video cameras, Flip took a minimalist approach by understanding what non-users of expensive video cameras really wanted to do, and then doing just that. Simple, easy video making for YouTube and for display on computers was the real goal. Make it easy, convenient, and inexpensive, and millions will benefit. Forget cables and complex interfaces. Just turn the camera on, record some video, and then snap it into the USB drive of your computer. Easily convert the video into a YouTube entry and you're good to go.

Pure Digital's experiment with disruptive innovation has paid off handsomely. This week it was announced that Cisco is purchasing the company, apparently to support its mission of expanding videoconferencing services. Interesting move - and great news for Pure Digital (well, for the owners of Pure Digital - not necessarily the employees). Can Cisco maintain the benefits of the Flip camera and maintain or strengthen the disruptive advantages? Remains to be seen.

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