Disruptive business models are challenging to establish but oh when they do take off they can be a thing of beauty. In my lifetime whole industries have virtually disappeared as a result of disruptive innovation – travel agencies vs booking your own flights, email vs postal services, streaming media vs tapes/CD’s or TV, Wikipedia vs owning encyclopaedia’s and the ultimate twice disrupted camera’s, first digital camera’s now phones – etc etc tonnes of examples.

I am fascinated with and in awe of both disruptive and creative business models, love or hate what they do to societies or the dominant position they often grasp – the function of successful innovation, leverage and scale fascinates me. So while I can only wait and hope for Ikea and Amazon Fresh to appear in my market Uber’s arrival is pretty exciting and making an impact already with licensed taxi drivers “defecting” to become private car drivers via the Uber network.

Uber, while disrupting the taxi industry as we know it, also present broader goals of lowering carbon footprints through reduction of owned cars and carpooling (school runs are a massive line of business for them in the United States for instance). However their real mark on business and societies is the hard yards they undertake to disrupt a highly regulated industry and exposing the hypocrisy of protective laws brought about through years of lobbyist efforts via establishing a dialogue via social media – so we all know the ridiculous strong hold cab drivers in France have over their government for instance.

Last night Uber launched in my home city, not with fireworks or one of their  renounced localised give-away mass events (think free ice cream), it was a very creative and respectful dinner showcasing local businesses, food and drinks.

Where they really excelled was the selection of guests, far from the usual crowd of well known business folk, Uber instead invited entrepreneurs, for me the evening was mind blowing in stimulating conversation on creative and progressive business models, social enterprises, disruptive technologies. I was envious of the many many young entrepreneurs there who realised their calling early, with brains wired for hustling and problem solving they will all be, not only successful, but so very satisfied with what they achieve in life (by the time they reach my old age of 45).

I hope this approach pays off for Uber. Here are some of the fabulous businesses I discovered (or rediscovered) last night:

  • CommonLedger – “Connecting Accountants to Businesses”. Yay for these guys, Carlos from CommonLedger is who got me invited, thanks so much!
  • Chalkle – “Let’s create a world where we can fall back in love with learning and teaching”. Very cool social enterprise, we will start using at OptimalBI to list our workshops ASAP
  • Wellington In A Box – “Wellington in a Box is a gift box showcasing the best of the small but perfectly formed artisan food producers that make Wellington a city of innovation and craft.” Thanks Uber for our lovely gift boxes, awesome corporate gift!
  • Mish Guru – “Snapchat marketing made easy”. As an avid Snapchat user I love the fact that a Wellington startup has software to make money from this platform! awesome, awesome idea.
  • Live the dream – “Live the Dream is an accelerator programme designed specifically to grow New Zealand’s next generation of social entrepreneurs and enterprise.”
  • The Catering Studio – Yummy Gluten Free food! Loved it (photo of menu below).
  • Good Buzz Brewing – “brews the tastiest kombucha tea around NZ, made only with the finest ingredients to ensure our cultures thrive.” Nice probiotic, great zingy flavours, also yummy.

Sorry if I forgot anyone. Sorry too for all of the questions I asked you all about how your startups will scale – seems to be top of mind for me right now so interesting to learn whether people consider scale from the outset. We can probably all learn from Uber who have as you know scaled into $$ figures, countries and drivers we can’t conceive of.

Stimulating to be surrounded by my kind of people – socially conscious, motivated, innovative entrepreneurs. Saving the planet, sustainability and enhancing the lives of others were the primary topics of conversation for me all night, awesome aye. Happy sharing, Vic.