Disruption is what every entrepreneur hopes for when they start a business. This hope doesn’t only stem to create a viable business, but to make severe impact on their customers, and the world around them.
Take a business that disrupted the taxi industry; Uber. They took the concerns with the traditional taxi model, empowered people that had cars to become chauffeurs for others, and eliminated the entire need of taxis altogether.
A site that is the definition of disruption is Everipedia. I spoke to cofounder Mahbod Moghadam, formerly Cofounder of Rap Genius (aka “Genius”) about how Everipedia is disrupting Wikipedia, and the process he uses to disrupt any industry.
1. Find a pain in a system
Like most industries, there is usually one glaring issue, and concern that customers, or people that work specifically with a business or organization experience.
For example, with Wikipedia, around a thousand articles get deleted every week. And yet, even with its relatively small number of pages, Alexa deems Wikipedia the 7th-largest site in the world. So instead, with Everipedia, you can make an article about anything or anyone, and the format is simple enough that you can add information from your phone.
Similarly, Wikipedia has no social element to their pages, versus Everipedia has implemented social features that allow, for example, celebrities to share and interact with fans.
Thirdly, contributing to Wikipedia doesn’t attach any goal or purpose, versus Everipedia takes the IQ points for contributing to Everipedia, and the plan is for IQ to someday be interchangeable for equity in the site. Contributors who put up a lot of college-related pages can be appointed “Campus Representatives”.
Lastly, Everipedia’s philosophical difference from Wikipedia of taking citations from anywhere bring a unique feel to the Everipedia. For Moghadam, these are the immediate problems, and need for a viable solution.
2. Get feedback on the pain
When Moghadam started using Wikipedia, he learned very quickly that the people that use Wikipedia are very peculiar: most of the dedicated editors are white, single males. Similarly, he began to reach out to other peers that tried using Wikipedia to learn more about what success and failures they had with the product.
To get heavily involved in Wikipedia, you need to know “wiki markup” which is kind of like a coding language. This results in a lot of consistent, often bigoted biases in the content Wikipedia deems notable. There aren’t many dedicated contributors to Wikipedia, so a small group is in control. It’s hard for “outsiders” to get involved, especially because the site is difficult to use.
Another great tip when you are getting iterative feedback on the pain and product is to keep it simple for your consumers. One of my all time favorite examples of keeping it simple is WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion dollars. A simple concept, with the KISS (keep it simple stupid) concept clear.
For Everipedia, the biggest difference between Everipedia and Wikipedia, is similarity to popular products, such as Facebook.
Wikipedia was built in 1999 and it hasn’t changed much. Everipedia is new, it feels the same way Facebook feels. This adds an element of stickiness for consumers, which allows them to adopt to products quicker.
3. Implement the solution and iterate
Once you have discovered a major pain that people have, and received feedback on the pain and the potential solutions, the importance is to push a simple product that people can give you feedback on, and continue the iterative process.
For Moghadam, he quickly launched the site after receiving iterative feedback from his prospective users, and to this date, is receiving astronomical growth.