Honoring Christensen by practicing his wisdom

Sam Lin
2 min readJan 26, 2020


Long Live The Kings

It’s a sad week because Clayton Christensen, the king of disruptive innovation dies at 67. I’m a big fan of his wisdom, e.g. The Innovator’s Dilemma. They are not only powerful mental models, but also inspirational. He emphasized one should always start from observation & theoretical thinking to construct a causality theory, and then test the hypotheses in the real world. More importantly, he led us to walk the talk.

Clayton Christensen: “Where does Growth come from?” | Talks at Google

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For example, the rise of NVIDIA PC GPU disrupted the workstation’s domination of the computer graphic market & eating SGI’s lunch. SGI used to lead & defined the industry, e.g. released OpenGL 1.0 in 1992. Today, OpenGL still is one of the most commonly used graphic API. Whereas, many people may not even know SGI. Just like what Disruptive Innovation theory predicts how a low-end disruptor may slay the giant. A fun fact: Google took over SGI campus in 2003, aka Googleplex.


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Of cause “History Does Not Repeat Itself, But It Rhymes”. If you put his wisdom into practice, you may learn a lot from experience or even history. It could save you from trial & error, or be misled by statistical correlations. Hopefully, you will honor him by making the world a bit better.

In a way, he & his wisdom also bust a big Silicon Valley myth: “Young people are just smarter”. If you don’t have time to read, there’re many videos of his talks on YouTube. Nevertheless, it’s still very worthwhile to read the books or listen to his audiobooks at least.

Full Disclosure

The opinions stated here are my own, not those of my company. They are mostly extrapolations from public information. I don’t have insider knowledge of those companies, nor a whatever expert.



Sam Lin

A Taiwanese lives in Silicon Valley since 2014 & has random opinions on some stuff. The opinions shared here are my own, not those of companies I work for.