Disrupt You!: An Interview with Jay Samit

I interviewed Jay Samit, CEO of the world’s leading multiscreen video services company. Jay is a dynamic entrepreneur who is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on disruption and innovation.  Described by Wired magazine as “having the coolest job in the industry,” he has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for startups, sold companies to Fortune 500 firms, transforms entire industries, and for three decades continues to be at the forefront of global trends. He is an author of his recently published book Disrupt You!: Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation. (EVERYONE who enters the giveaway will get a free copy of his companion workbook for Disrupt You!)

1 Disrupt You cover

1. What inspired you to write Disrupt You?

The problems the world is experiencing around Greece, ISIS, Ferguson and Baltimore are not issues of race, culture or religion; they are the byproduct of massive unemployment for those under 30.  With 2.3 billion millennials looking for work, the world has to teach the next generation how to be more entrepreneurial of nation’s will face massive instability.  You can either look at all the changes brought by automation and technology as an obstacle or an opportunity.  Either way you are right.  You can let the fast pace of globalization disrupt your career or you can take advantage of being one click on your phone away from 6 billion consumers and prosper.

2. What’s the big idea behind your new book? Why should leaders read your book?

In this era of endless innovation, people need to be shown how they can master personal transformation to seize opportunity and thrive.  As a successful entrepreneur and intrepreneur I have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for new ideas, taken companies public and built new divisions for Fortune 500 companies, readers will learn practical ways to re-imagine what they and their organization can accomplish.

3. What is a serial dirsuptor? How do you become one?

A disruptor is one who wants to make a difference and doesn’t except the status quo as the only way things can or should be.  Like most people, I came out of school believing there was a good job waiting for me.  When none was available due to a recession, I set out on a course to re-imagine how the world worked and discovered how easy it is to change any industry, launch billion dollar startups and control your own destiny.  This book outlines the 4 step process used by dozens of self-made billionaires.

4. Can you share one case study of how a leader anticipated change to create their own opportunities for personal satisfaction and professional success? What did he do to invent new markets or expand their established businesses?

Success in business is about solving for others.  Look at changes in your life and your world.  The more people you can solve for the better.  One case study in the book started when Clay Mathile recognized that people didn’t tie up their dogs in the backyard any more, but rather treated them as family members.  He knew that people would feed a family member a healthier diet than a farm animal.  The big dog food companies laughed at him because his wholesale price for a quality product was more than their retail price.  They stopped laughing when Procter & Gamble made the largest acquisition in the company’s history and purchased Iams for $2.3 billion.  Disrupting billion dollar industries is really that simple.  Disrupt You! includes dozens of case studies covering automotive, restaurants, transportation, retail, entertainment, manufacturing, publishing, etc.

5. What is one advice would you give to anyone looking to break through? For leaders with a big idea but with no idea how to apply it? Or, leaders who worry about being made irrelevant in an era of technological transformation?

In Disrupt You!, I talk about how to come up with a Zombie Idea — one that can’t be killed.  Too many entrepreneurs try to nurture their ideas in an effort to foster their growth.  In reality, the best thing one can do is to try and destroy your idea.  Find every fault and flaw.  Fail as quick as possible before you eat up too much capital or time.  Like forging steel, it is the fiery cauldron of trying to attack the idea that makes it stronger.  When you eliminated all the ways it can fail, then you have a Zombie idea ready for market. Those who accept the inevitability of change stand to benefit the most from it.

6. What are your top three books that have shaped your life as a leader?

Lawrence J. Peter’s The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong opened my eyes to understanding how vulnerable and malleable the business world is to disruption.
Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller – Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century was the first to focus on the power of positive thinking.  You will never hear a great idea from a person in a bad mood.  In Disrupt You! I share the latest scientific research on the power of positive affirmations with examples shared by everyone from Jim Carrey to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People is as relevant today as it was first published in 1936.  Whether you are a public CEO like me or startup entrepreneur, you can only accomplish great things by getting others on board with your big ideas.  Learning how to communicate with, employees, customers, investors and shareholders is key to an executive’s effectiveness and success.

Question: What is your one Zombie idea?

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