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There are two hallmarks of disruptive innovation that are commonly misunderstood. The first is the myth of the “aha” moment that tends to assign disruption to a single instant of discovery and change, when, in reality, nearly all disruptive innovations are the result of long-term trends, research, and investment that finally culminate at an inflection point. The iPad wasn’t invented in a vacuum, but was the result of decades of research, failed attempts, and gradual technology advancements. This doesn’t diminish the value of the innovation, but even the lightbulb was only possible after centuries of accretive science. The second myth is that a disruptive event immediately changes the world.
Apple loves to talk about its stores. They do it in every conference call, keynote event and SEC filing. There is a monotony with the repetition of how many they have and how many they are building and how pretty they are. They start to seem like commodities.