Cash Flow With Joe

Don’t let innovation disrupt you

Don’t let innovation disrupt you


There’s a really cool book you should check out called “Disrupt You” by Jay Samit. Jay is a serial entrepreneur with a background in media and computer programming.


To define the concept of what a disruption is, Jay tells a personal story about how he failed big-time. He had a computer programming company that was bidding on a state contract to make kiosks so people could purchase lottery tickets on demand during the 1990s.


Jay’s team built a beautiful machine with a full-color display and a friendly voice that would guide people through the purchase. Jay sunk almost every dollar he had into making this prototype. He believed he had a superior product that was ahead of its time for that era.


The problem was that the government felt it was too advanced and chose a machine with a green glowing font that looked similar to the other computers typical of that time.


Decimated, disappointed and broke, Jay used his last few bucks to catch a flight back home. The whole way, he questioned what he was going to do. When he got off the plan at the busy LAX hub, he noticed a foreign couple trying to figure out where to go and how to call for a cab. The information desk was on break and there was no one to help.


He thought to himself that it would be great if there was a kiosk that could help people find where they were going and how to call for a cab — even in multiple languages. He looked down at the prototype he had in hands and knew what to do. With only a few minor tweaks, Jay was able to accomplish his goal and sold his machines to airports all over the world.


In the book, Jay says, “Things Change. And they change really rapidly.” He says that if you own a business, you have to get your head wrapped around this fact and be willing to change, too. He defines these changes in the marketplace as disruptions. And Jay’s book goes through case studies of companies that changed during a disruption and those that did not.


Just like Jay’s airport kiosk, change breeds opportunity if you are willing to take note and innovate. And we have seen some major changes in the real estate world since we have been on lockdown. Truthfully, I believe we will see quite a bit more change as we come out of lockdown.


Innovation will come, and you will need to change the way you do business. Chances are you have been using Zoom and Facetime way more than you ever did two months ago.


But be careful as you innovate. Sometimes it can get away from you and become counterproductive. Here is a case in point.


We have been using a software to track our marketing so we can determine which is most effective.


To do that, we’ve been using different phone numbers on our marketing pieces as a tracking tool. For instance, the number on our postcard may be different than the number on a letter. All the numbers are forwarded to us, or to our answering service if we are not available.


The beauty of this system is when someone calls a particular number, the software uses that information to make a seller card, which tells who called and from what marketing piece so that we can be more efficient with our marketing dollars — that is if it was working correctly.


This week, we found we had an error in the way we set things up, and it had been affecting the system for a couple of months. Because of that fact, we have missed some seller calls, not gotten the tracking we desired and had been paying for a service we weren’t really using. That was pretty much the opposite of what we were trying to accomplish.


Innovation is great, and in most cases, a necessity. Just be careful that you don’t get so busy innovating that those changes disrupt your business and become counterproductive.


Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to or call Joe at 678-986-6813.


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