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Contrarian Ideas, Disruptive Outcomes!



You’re going to a new place. You’ve never been there before.


What kind of a place would you choose to live in? A good hotel? Online reviews showing hundreds of positive comments? A famous hotel brand name?

Sounds good.


Would you stay in a stranger’s house?

You probably said no.


About 10 years ago, most people would have said no.


But Airbnb thought you would stay in a stranger’s house. They went on to make it their business model.


The idea was so crazy, nobody else was doing it. Because nobody was doing it, Airbnb had almost no competition.


Today, they are practically the only company in the space.


They have more rooms than any hotel chain, and they have a market cap bigger than any hotel company in the world.


Airbnb took a contrarian bet.


Contrarian ideas are those that nobody or few are in favor of. If too many people agree on an idea, it can’t be contrarian.


There’s a very famous video of Jeff Bezos that says. “Here’s the thing about contrarians. They’re mostly wrong”.


He then goes on to acknowledge that some of Amazon’s best outcomes were contrarian moves.


In technology too, contrarian bets have the potential to pay off big and handsome prizes. And being a digital innovator in your space.


But that doesn’t come from merely being against whatever everyone else is doing.


It comes from truly understanding something that nobody else has understood yet.


Contrarian ideas are ideas that only a few people have thought of. Hence, they appear crazy.


And therefore, they are indistinguishable from ideas that really are crazy and have no future.


There is no lack of absolutely crazy ideas.


There’s a company that freezes people’s bodies after their death and stores them.


The hope is that someday when the medical technology is advanced enough, they will unfreeze the bodies and perform medical procedures to cure the dead person and bring them back to life.


Would this work? We don’t know.


But this is an absolutely wild idea very few people seem to be doing. If it works, life and death will never be viewed the same again.


What are some contrarian ideas that CIOs are pursuing?


Two-thirds of the respondents to a recent global CIO survey expect the primary responsibility for technology leaders in three years will be driving change and co-creating business solutions. As technology leaders embark on this journey, they will likely realize that new approaches are required if they are going to succeed.

Rather than developing talent for years based on specific career paths or job competencies, disruptive leaders are curating talent by providing them with a breadth of experiences and training. They’re creating fluid organizational structures and agile work environments and putting people in situations where they have to rapidly acquire knowledge and expertise.


With the shift to agile teams, product mindset and minimum viable product, measures such as quality, velocity, customer experience and business value have become more important. These measures are hard to gather and quantify but are often great predictors of future trajectory and allow for quick course corrections.


Share your contrarian idea in the Comments below.

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