Ladies and Gentlemen — the POTUS (Photo: Jae C. Hong, AP)

The Trump Ascension Explained by Disruption Theory

Ali R. Tariq
Nov 10, 2016 · 5 min read

I know, I know.

Another Trump piece.

Another arm-chair know-it-all’s take on Disruption Theory.

And the last thing you want to read is a Trump piece about Disruption Theory.

But hear me out. If for nothing else but pseudo-intellectual fun.

Anyway, here goes.

*deep breath*

So, I was on the bus, on my daily 1.5 hr commute from work to home, when I started scrolling through the troves of messages my family had been frantically sharing with each other about last night’s momentous rollercoaster of an election that capped off what felt like the most exhausting 18 month run-up to an election ever (and I’ve only lived through and remember 5 of them).

When it struck me.

Trump’s remarkable and unthinkable ascension to POTUS is classic Disruption Theory at play. And not the Techcrunch-variety of disruption, but the Clayton Christensen academic Disruption. Disruption with a capital ‘D’.

Long commutes on this are conducive to occasional brain farts

A Primer on Disruption Theory

To explain, I first need to do a quick level-set to make sure we’re on the same page about Disruption Theory as I understood it while seated on that bus ride home (and please humour me. This is meant to be more pseudo-academic fun than anything else, but hey, lets see where this goes):

The Trump Disruption (Trumption?)

A quick sketch on my bus ride of the disruptive ascension of Trump. And yes, I realize the weirdness of this being drawn literally on the back of an envelope — it was the only thing I had to write on

In other words, Donald Trump disrupted the political system.

And no one saw him coming all the way to the end.

Blockbuster, meet Netflix

And in keeping with the Netflix theme, orange is definitely the new black.

Ali R. Tariq

Written by

Teach a man to start a fishing business / product design guy / innovation geek / @alirtariq