Well, it should come as no surprise. Yesterday, Tim Tebow was released by the New York Jets. A sad end to a long year. Why on earth the Jets decided to grab Tebow in March of 2012 is hard to fathom at this point. However, what is pretty clear is that Tim Tebow did not listen to Clayton Christensen. Well, not exactly.

Last March, I posted a tongue-in-cheek entry that imagined what advice Clayton Christensen, the czar of Disruptive Innovation, would give Tim Tebow as he assessed his path forward in the NFL. Despite assertions otherwise from the Tebow camp, the Denver Broncos reportedly provided Tim a limited opportunity to pick where he went next. A day after I posted the entry, an offer from the Jacksonville Jaguars (might have worked) was stiff-armed in preference to the opportunity to play for the Jets (not a prayer). The decision ran counter to every aspect of advice I imagined Clayton Christensen would have given Mr. Tebow. A miserable outcome was predicted, and a miserable outcome was had.

The robustness of Disruptive Innovation principles is amazing to me. Integrated steel mills. Disk drives. Personal computers. Health care. Education. And football? Yes, football too. Ignore these principles at your peril.

Okay, Tim. Clayton told you so. Rugby anyone?

Tebow's Jets jersey has been hung up for good.
Tebow may need to re-read piece of advice #4 - Consider Rugby.

Code.org is a non-profit foundation founded in the latter half of 2012 that wants to dramatically grow computer programming education at a global level. They are motivated by the worldwide shortage of computer programming talent. At the same time, less than 20% of the states count coding classes toward high school graduation. As an initial assault on the problem, the organization aims to reduce degree to which learning a computer language appears to many to be an daunting, intimidating challenge. The video they just posted is well done and does a great job of conveying their message. Read more about them at Code.org
Code.org™ and the Code.org logo are trademarks of Code.org.  

In mid February, the LiDAR News eMag published the first issue of its third volume. An article I wrote on Boulder-based 3D at Depth appears in that issue. Take a look. To learn more about 3D at Depth, a company focused on underwater mapping with green wavelength LiDAR, visit their website

The latest edition of LiDAR News is out.  I contributed an article espousing some of the lessons learned from Eric Ries' bestseller The Lean Startup.  While the book's principles certainly lend themselves best to web-based software products, there is plenty that can be applied to those having significant hardware elements. The three best practices I highlight are: 
  1. Deliberately define 'Leap of Faith' Assumptions.
  2. Apply the Build-Measure-Learn construct with pre-planned Pivot meetings. 
  3. Shrink your batch size to improve efficiency and extend the runway. 
See the article for more details.  Also please read Eric Ries' book and great blog for a myriad of other valuable insights. 

I finally got around to reading through a great report jointly published by the Center for American Progress and the Innosight Institute. Disrupting College: How Disruptive Innovation Can Deliver Quality and Affordability to Postsecondary Education was published in February of last year and was authored by Clayton Christensen, Michael Horn, Louis Caldera and Louis Soares. For those of you that enjoy anything written by Clayton Christensen and team, this is a must read and addresses an important topic. However, I do believe the report glosses over a key job that colleges and universities are hired to perform. That job is to provide an environment where students gain wisdom through the college experience,  a critical piece to the transformation to adulthood. It is far from clear how that job is or will be disrupted. However, if and when an enabling technology begins addressing that job even feebly, the pace of disruption will accelerate tremendously and all but the most prestigious colleges and universities will be overwhelmed.  

Disrupting College Report by Christensen et al
The Disrupting College Report was published in February of 2011.

When Gordon Nuttall, CEO of Fort Collins' Couragent, Inc., began his presentation last Wednesday by pulling out his portable scanner, I groaned. "A scanner. Really?" I mumbled to myself. "Aren't scanners going the way of the fax machine?"
Plus, the market's already saturated, isn't it? There are numerous offerings in this class of device. So much so that when I did a quick smart-phone Google search on the keywords "portable scanner," the Flip Pal scanner did not come up until Page 3. The on-the-surface competitive devices are built by Brother, Fujitsu, VuPoint, and Gordon's former company, HP. 

However, on Slide 3 of Gordon's pitch, I began to understand. With its patented "flip-and-scan" technology that keeps photos safe in their album and its ability to stitch together multiple scans, the Flip Pal's market is a sizable niche: 17+ million scrapbookers. More recently, they've expanded to include genealogists, collectors, photographers and designers. Gordon and his team of talented 2008 cast-offs were astutely applying key lessons from Crossing the Chasm and Innovator's Solution. And they're demonstrating lean startup principles in their execution (e.g., The Lean Startup by Eric Ries).  So far, they're succeeding.

It's exciting to me when you see these concepts in action, making visible differences in the launch of a business. I thoroughly enjoyed Gordon's presentation and the insights gained from a company that has demonstrated a true learning orientation during its first two years of existence.

So, here are five of the many lessons from Couragent and its Flip Pal product that you can apply to your own business.

My first article for LiDAR News came out this morning.  I am now an official contributing author.  Gene Roe (editor) noticed one of my February blog entries and thought I had a unique perspective to add to the mix.  This first article is the Spotlight article for the mid-March edition. 

The article is about LiDAR market disruption and two recent innovative product releases that have made big splashes this past year or so.  One is the Focus 3D sensor from FARO and the other is the very cool and very cheap non-traditional LiDAR that lives inside Microsoft's Kinect gaming system.

Read the full article here