Disrupt Something And Do It Now - Guest Post from James Aviaz

James Aviaz is a Community Manager at Uber NYC

The new darlings of the tech world, and rightly so, are so-called 'disruptive' companies. Heck, New York just played host to a 3-day conference called Techcrunch Disrupt.

So, what makes a disruptive company? Essentially, these disruptors are taking old, broken industries and using innovative tech to fix their problems. Along the way, most of these companies come up against regulatory issues, requiring them to show serious cojones and nimble thinking.

These companies are also revered for their revenue models - they take real money for real services. Something most startups only dream of when asked: 'So, how are you going to monetise this thing?'

Here's a selection of disruptive companies to check out:

1. Square

Founded by Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Square turns any iPhone or iPad into a mobile credit card machine. With a card reader attachment plugged into your audio jack, you can literally take card payments anywhere / any time. Square takes 2.75% of each transaction. Yep, it's fucking genius.

2. Uber

Ever tried getting a yellow taxi in San Francisco? It's a nightmare. Two entrepreneurs Garrett Camp (StumbleUpon) and Travis Kalanick (Red Swoosh) took the challenge on-board and turned a dormant, disparate network of luxury cars into a fully-functioning yellow taxi alternative. Now in NYC, Uber has Seattle, DC, Boston and Chicago next in its sights.

(Disclosure: I'm the Community Manager for Uber in NYC).

3. Airbnb

Starting as a marketplace for finding air mattresses to crash on people's floor, Airbnb founded by Brian Chesky has in the last two years become a genuine hotel alternative. Apartment owners list their cribs online for short-term rentals, and then savvy travellers snap up the awesome rooms. Just raised $100m with a valuation of $1bn. NBD.

4. Skillshare

Americans pay a shitload to go to college with diminishing returns, so Mike Karnjanaprakorn decided to 'start an education revolution'. His contention is that college success does not equal long-term job success, so he's building a learning marketplace where students take take highly-targeted classes at competitive prices.

Now ask yourself: What makes you facepalm each day? What industries are broken? What can you fix?

At a time when the tech world is on the verge an IPO bender, disruptive companies are poised to make a lot of noise. Disrupt something and do it now.

List of Australians in NYC Ad Agencies

It feels like there is a lot of Australians over in NYC doing interesting things. I decided to give a little bit more visibility to who is over here and created a list of Australians who were working at Advertising Agencies over here.

George Gallate, Global Chairman at Euro RSCG
Nick Law, EVP and Chief Creative Officer at R/GA
David Droga, Founder and Creative Chairman at Droga5
Julie Atherton, Global Digital Leader at WPP Team Colgate
Jane Barratt, President of Young and Rubicam
Matt Eastwood, Chief Creative Officer at DDB
Mark Pollard, Director of Planning Innovation at Saatchi and Saatchi
Jonny Baeur, Head of Strategy at Droga5
Neil Heymann, Interactive Creative Director at Droga5
Matt Donovan, MP at McCann
Matt Turnbull, VP of Mobile at Tigerspike
Alexander Chung, Senior Strategist at Undercurrent
Aisea Laungaue , Planning Director at Anomaly
Kat Wong , Senior Strategic Planner, BBDO
Melanie Wiese, Senior Planner, Grey
Andrew Boal, Creative Director, Digitas
Sammi Needham, Creative Director R/GA
Paul Dery, Associate Creative Director, R/GA
Lauren Bugeja, Senior Interaction Designer at R/GA
Pon Kattera, Senior Interaction Designer and Digital Strategist at R/GA
Glenn Rogers, Interactive Senior Producer, Razorfish
Alex Bodman, Associate Creative Director, Razorfish
Kate Gwynne, Community Inspirer at McGarry Bowen
Coco Caspersz, Associate Director at Ogilvy Interactive
Andy Catchaturyan, Interactive Designer
Alex Trevor, Account Director at The Barbarian Group
Lexi Peters, Communication Specialist at The Barbarian Group
Ben Clare, Copywriter at Johannes Leonardo
Gemma Pollard, Global Communication Manager at JWT NYC
Karl Stanton, Senior Developer at HUGE
Tom Markham, Digital ECD at Lowe and Partners
Julian Cole, Strategy Director at BBH NYC
Michaella Solar-March, Splendid
Leo Premutico, Co-founder at Johannes Leonardo
Matt Jones, SVP Strategy and Creative at Jack Morton Worldwide
Michael Canning, Creative Director/SVP at Leo Burnett
Kieran Antill, Creative Director/SVP at Leo Burnett
Robertino Zambrano, Art Director at RGA
Anthony Moss, Group Creative Director, Managing Partner at Gotham Inc
Laura Agricola-Moss, VP Management Supervisor, USA at MRM Worldwide NYC
David Ahrom Hong, Sr. Art Director at Saatchi & Saatchi New York
Brad Cohen, Design Director at BBDO NY
Lara Abelsohn, Business Manager at Saatchi & Saatchi NY
Thorsten Hayer, Experience Design Director at AKQA
Hana Nguyen, Senior Producer at Rapp Collins Worldwide
Gully Flowers, Account Supervisor at Berlin Cameron
Mark Davies, Technical Lead at mcgarrybowen
Cameron Dunnet, Copywriter at Interbrand
Dani Simpson, Account Director at Berlin Cameron

Media Agencies, Client Side and start ups
Ed Sanders , Global Marketing Manager, Creative Lab at Google
Nat Ma, Director of Digital Marketing at Burberry
Emily Butler, Associate Director of Digital Marketing, Sony
Mitchell Holder, Insights and Planning at Sony Music's Global Insights Labs
Sarah Fitzgerald, Digital Account Manager at Sony Music US
Paull Young, Director of Digital at Charity Water
Gary Hardwick, CEO of Ikon3
James Aviaz, Community Manager at Uber NYC
Fiona McIndoe, Client Sales Manager at Specific Media
Sarah James, Associate Media Director at Mediacom
Richard Christiansen, Founder and Creative Director of Chandelier
Amelia Trumble, Executive Director at Mac Cosmetics
Ross McNab, Director of Global Business Development at MediaMind
Mick O'Brien, VP Sales & Client Service North America at MediaMind
Annabel Rawson, Global Smirnoff Experience Director at Diageo
Malcolm Carfrae - Head of Global Communications, Calvin Klein
Matt Sproul, Director of Marketing at Redken 5th Avenue

I have made it into a Twitter List which you can follow it is called the 'E3 Winners', 30+ Australians working in Digital/Strategy at NYC Ad Agencies.

Let me know if there is anyone I have left off the list and I will add them

MacGyvers Digital Strategy Training Guide

So this break between jobs has been really good, I have been able to really have a think about the processes that I use in my job and what the hell I actually do and how I articulate that.

One of the good things that I have started to do is map out the insights mining process that I go through for a brief. I am actually going to write an e-book on the process and I am also thinking about making it into a course, I presented some of this thinking at Strateday, but there is heaps of courses like Skillshare that I am thinking I could teach this through.

Anyway I am calling it the MacGyver's Digital Strategy Training Guide. The aim is to be able to come up with killer insights using only free tools that are at your disposal (including your brain). I have got three pillars – Discourse Analysis, Relationship Mapping and Capital Auditing.

Here is a small excerpt to the Relationship Mapping chapter, every chapter is going to be based on one of my favourite marketing/sociology academics and then have two to three exercises with how you can draw insights. This chapter is based on Susan Fournier.



Marketing academic Susan Fournier came up with an interesting discovery in 1998, she found that people have relationships with brands the same way that they have relationships with other people. She suggested that there were a number of different styles of relationships that people had with brands from seeing a brand similar to your best mate to being your father.

What you need – Target Market Profile

Tools to be used
Relationship Peaking

Think about the target markets life and the major life moments that they have, what role does the brand play in these interactions. Map from life to death what role does that product or service play with the target market.

Relationship Mapping for BIC pens
In this example I take the product of a pen. As you can see there are a number of massive times in a persons life that they share with a pen. From getting your pen license, to signing your first job contract. This should help give you some ideas going into a brainstorm of territories you might want to go down.

More about Susan Fournier

While Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School Susan wrote her seminal paper on Brand relationship. Prior to that Susan was a VP and Director at Young & Rubicam Advertising; she also held positions in marketing research at Yankelovich and marketing/advertising at Polaroid Corporation. She now is currently the Associate Professor of Marketing at Bsoton University.
Read Susan Fournier journal article 'Consumers and their brands - Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research'

Any thoughts? Ways that I could make it better or things I should think about?