Fail Cheaply and Disrupt Thyself

Greg Papadopoulos, Sun Microsystems

Failure is a very important part of the learning process in Silicon Valley, says Greg Papadopoulos, CTO of Sun Microsystems. And people should disrupt themselves frequently and as inexpensively as possible. An organization not on its game will allow an upstart to dislodge their market foothold more easily or for less cost, thereby putting you out of business. Instead, the successful, stable enterprise will constantly question their own efforts and their own technologies and learn how to cannibalize their own actions. Papadopoulis cites as an example a recent Intel processor powering a fleet of netbooks. While they are taking market share away from their own flagship processors, it's better for Intel to usurp themselves, rather than to be crushed under a competitor's innovation.