back to article You want to DISRUPT my TECH? How about I DISRUPT your FACE?

My “iBeats by Dr Dre” earphones have ceased functioning. They lasted all of eight weeks. Tangerine Dream at Coventry Cathedral. HD. Tangerine Dream at Coventry Cathedral 1974. While I’d been joking that I was trying to defile Dr Dre’s muvva-fuddin’ bitch-slappin’ earphones by listening to early Mike Oldfield and Tangerine …

  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Quite right, but there's really no mystery here. Everyone agrees that being on the receiving end of disruption is unpleasant, so the consultants have noticed that they can sell disruption as a product, to the managers, with the line that "This way, you are the *cause* of the disruption rather than the effect.". From the viewpoint of a sufficiently dumb manager, that means they look far-sighted and perhaps get an opportunity to dispatch one or two disruptive employees (ironically using the excuse that they weren't disruptive enough). From the viewpoint of the consultant, they only have to deliver chaos -- the more the better in fact.

  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge


    OK Steve. How about you get nothing up front but you do get 50% of the money saved after the first year?

    1. TheProf Silver badge

      Re: BWI

      I worked for a company that ran an 'innovative ideas' scam, sorry, scheme along those lines.

      If you had a brilliant idea to save the company money all you had to do was cost analyse to the last penny the whole project and you'd get (up to) 10% (up to some limit obviously) of the money saved in the first year after implementation costs were deducted .

      Your idea's saving the company £10 million p.a. in subsequent years? Nothing for you, sucka!

  3. Efros

    TD at Coventry Cathedral

    Completely changed my teenage musical tastes and purchases. Watched it on the TV and the following day bought Ricochet. Glad to see TD can mess up Dr Dre's eponymous cans.

  4. Josco


    Turtled Necked Twat, brilliant!

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: TNT!

      "Turtled Necked Twat, brilliant!"

      Agreed, a highly amusing and appropriate moniker for someone who does unfortunately actually appear to exist. Well, I say he exists, he might just have been a relative of Steve or something, the one I knew was even worse so became Jeff-The-TNC (and no, the C isnt for 'countryside', though there's a distinct phonetic relationship.)

      And Alistair, a staple gun when someone utters the catchphrase “disruptive technology”? Really? Let's not let things get out of perspective here.

      It deserves a nail-gun at the very least...

      1. Shadow Systems

        @TitterYeNot, re Nail Gun.

        Which style of nail do you suggest be used from across the room? I can't always get "up close & personal" with the TNT Consultant, so am forced to open fire from a distance. Standard Roofing Nails tend to tumble mid-flight & render themselves highly inaccurate, so I need a style of nail that will remain true-on-target. Or should I just invest in a Sniper Nail Gun instead & take pot shots from the roof as they approach the building so they never get inside to begin with?


        I'll get my coat, it's the one with the portable air compressor & bags of nails in the pockets...

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: @TitterYeNot, re Nail Gun.

          That would be the Ramset FrameMaster powder-actuated nail gun. It uses a .22 cartridge to fire a nail up to 1200 feet per second.

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

            Re: @TitterYeNot, re Nail Gun.

            Hell, I thought you made that up. There is even a youtube video about it. Fun!

        2. Montreal Sean

          Re: @TitterYeNot, re Nail Gun.

          I'd suggest the use of spiral nails, they should fly a little straighter. :)

  5. Esme

    I note that first company you linked is so disruptive that it'll be some 24 days (and counting) before their new website is up and running. So leaving a non-functional placeholder is useful... how?


    1. Mephistro

      They're probably disrupting themselves. When they finish with that, the countdown will reach zero and the website will vanish in a pretty puff of smoke.

  6. Loud Speaker

    If you keep going with this type or research, you will soon find that, where as "bigger" just means bigger, "enhanced" means "we have added so many new bits, we have not had time to debug them, and now even the old stuff no longer works properly". (See "New Coca-Cola", Unity and "systemd")

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Not to mention the old chestnut of "new and improved", which is of course self-contradictory.

      All these TNT's (that is definitely going into regular usage at work) get rather squirmy when you point that out and ask them for details about how their new whizzy product or project can be both.

      1. Roo

        Squirmy TNTS

        "All these TNT's (that is definitely going into regular usage at work) get rather squirmy"

        "Squirmy" reminds of me when I asked an Azul rep what the FP performance of their Java hardware was like. It was a fair question, they were pitching it at apps that spent 95% of their lives crunching FP...

        I never did get *any* answer from Azul, so I'm guessing their FP performance disrupted their disruption.

    2. Elf

      Spits Tea across laptop.


  7. P. Lee

    >the rate of change is fast and it is getting faster.

    While I agree with the thrust of the article, I'm not so sure on this point.

    It seems that IT has grown into such a huge and rigid beast that structural change is actually far too expensive to contemplate. Isn't that the reason for the industry bloodbath - vendors aren't offering any constructive change and we're not sure if people would want it even if it were on offer? The cost of change outweighs pretty much any benefit you could imagine. That much is obvious from the number of companies still running SAP. ;)

    My A-Level CompSci teacher used to say the answer to any question regarding why computers are used is "quick, cheap and efficient." He failed to mention (possibly because it wasn't really so back then) that IT is incredibly fragile. We have centralised so far, with so much complexity, that one small change can bring down massive systems, eh RBS?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: >the rate of change is fast and it is getting faster.

      Hehe. My company is still running a database system much older than SAP (think MS DOS interface and all). They're actually considering UPGRADING to SAP.

      --> Me, every time I have to use our system -->

      1. dogged

        Re: >the rate of change is fast and it is getting faster.

        Still sounds better than SAP.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: >the rate of change is fast and it is getting faster.

      Good point. But I'd go further and not see change as a cost per se. The system in place *is* the business. Change it incorrectly and your profit and your business may no longer exist. What is a bank these days without an Internet site?

      As such the need for change is usually based on newcomers entering the market with a better product which hurts your business (e.g egg bank remember them?)

      Of course keeping current and doing R&D to invent the next business upgrade is useful, but actually deploying it merely to steal an extra 5% of the market and risk losing the 40% you hold is what counts against disruption.

    3. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: >the rate of change is fast and it is getting faster.

      The thing is that after some first-movers make the "disruptive*" change and make off like bandits in the process, the competition piles in and drives margins (and quality) to Zero. With Zero margins, investment and innovation dry up so one has basically to make money by cornering a part of the same market everyone is fighting over and charging to maintain it - i.e. Rent Collection.

      "Rigid and Brittle" is what you want as a rentier business!

      Makes it hard, potentially a business-killing decision, to move away from one product and into the arms of the competition. If the competition is equally shit then there is no need either - the fully developed competitive market place where all profit opportunity is competed away - ensures this.

      *) Disruptive in my opinion means a jump into Hyperspace - someone drives a change that completely changes the landscape for everyone else. Because of this, the value of the change cannot be modelled in advance, which also means that the bean-counters will never approve it, so, once bean-counters are hired and cloaked in power, there can be no more disruptions from that place.

      Bill Gates, f.ex., he saw the value of combining DOS with the PC way before anyone else, the people he bought it from didn't "get it either". Now, lumbered with bean-counters and change management processes, Microsoft, HP et cetera lumbers around following "hot trends" that are already long over!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    This all sounds very familiar

    Mrs Coat's boss is highly susceptible to TNT salesfolk. The IT dept always knows when someone flogging the latest tech fashion has visited. He bangs on about the cloud and other similar bollocks but really doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. More dangerous than disruptive.

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Talking of disruptive

    All the office computers are on Windows 8 (except mine of course). I guess I can expect to hear howls of protest soon with the Windows 10 fiasco.

    I shall keep my head down, and if asked will sorrowfully say that I'm so out of date I can't help at all.

  10. Anonymous Custard Silver badge


    Nice article, although the point about being taken in by sales hype is a bit undermined by the admission at the start that you own something by Dr Dre...

    It's things like that which'll have your status as a technology tart withdrawn.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ironic?

      I suspect he's using them ironically...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ironic?

        How the hell can you wear Beats ironically? Now if you'd said 'Twatishly'............

    2. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Ironic?

      This may surprise you, but I am not the kind of journalist who is given freebies. I bought the iBeats for £21 in a sale at my local shopping centre because I wanted a second set of earphones+mic in case I lost my Sennheisers. I can't afford a second set of Sennheisers.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Ironic?

        Try the £2 fake ones from a car boot sale, they will be much better quality.

      2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Ironic?


        I think given the choice of going from Sennheisers to Beats compared to going from Sennheisers to silence, I'd pick the latter. It's less of a drop in audio quality and sonic satisfaction.

      3. MonkeyCee

        Re: Ironic?

        Seriously El Dabbsy? My Sennheisers are from the cheapo end of the range (25 euros, so roughly 20 squids) and have "better"* performance than dem beats.

        Then you can have your awesome sennys, and your travel ones :)

        *By standard acoustic measures. For looking like a tw@t, they are about half as good.

      4. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Ironic?

        I have a £25 pair of Sennheisers (PX100 AFAIR)

        Only £4 more than Beats crap

  11. MrT

    "Our events are short..."

    ...brought this to mind:

    Fozziwig: My speech! Here's my Christmas speech. Ahem. "Thank you all, and Merry Christmas."

    Jacob Marley: That was the speech?

    Robert Marley: It was dumb!

    Jacob Marley: It was obvious!

    Robert Marley: It was pointless!

    Jacob Marley: It was... short!

    Together: I loved it!

  12. Chris Miller

    "People resist change"

    The unanswerable response to any objection from The Consultant ("not a team player" is another good one). The unspoken subtext, of course, is that people resist change that makes life worse for them. If you doubt this, imagine offering your staff a new contract that pays them twice as much for half the work (cf. medical professionals under Tony Blair). How much resistance would you expect to this change?

    1. KA1AXY

      Re: "People resist change"

      Not always. If I can be convinced that the change is for the better, I'm on board.

      But change, for change's sake? Usually negatively impactful.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: "People resist change"

        Change always has a high cost.

        So you have to be able to prove the change is worth the cost - to the people who actually bear that cost.

      2. Shadow Systems

        @KA1AXY, re: Change.

        I agree that Change for Progress is fine while Change for Change's sake is more-often-than-not a disruptive impediment to progress.

        For example, changing the way in which a motorist controls the vehicle from the traditional steering wheel to something involving levers, dials, knobs, & random electrical shocks "to maintain motorist focus" is a really bad idea, while a change that removes the PEBKAC coefficient (aka Self Driving Vehicles) might not be such a bad idea.

        However, changes like "upgrading" a computer from a perfectly functional state that Gets Shit Done, to a state that requires days/weeks/months of constant, hourly/daily tweaks to get the bugs out, to fix bits of broken code, & resolve incompatabilities that the TNT Consultant glossed over is a whole 'nuther kettle o' fish.

        When a company I worked for brought in a TNT Consultant to assist with an "upgrade" to a bit of the corporate infrastructure, I could smell the DOOM coming like a rancid fart in a packed elevator. I tried to warn my manager that it was A Very Bad Idea but was told to mind my own business. Sure enough, a week after the TNT Consultant left claiming the upgrade complete, it all hit the fan when the IT Manager found out that the TNT Consultant had switched OFF the back up routine, unplugged the back up server's link, & rendered the nightly back up strategy a total shambles. And whom did they try to get to FIX that particular cock up? *Points at self* Yeah. Why? Because I was smart enough to have pointed out in the first place what a load of bullshit the whole "upgrade" had been from the get-go. So the IT Manager dropped it in MY lap to recover from. That's when I reminded him that (to use his own words when dismissing my original concerns) "That's above my Pay Grade & not something I should worry my pretty little head over". I smiled acidly & went back to my desk, his spluttering & stuttering like music in my SadoMasochistic ears.

        Change that is Progress is often a good thing. Change just for Change's sake is often a complete cluster fuck waiting to blow up in your face.

  13. jake Silver badge

    "Disruption" is a marketing term.

    It means "we're going to sell shit to idiots".

    Me, when I need cans (rarely these days), I use Koss DR-9s. My speakers are Wharfedales and Boston Acoustic studio monitors, all from roughly 1981 ... I still haven't found anything that sounds better.

  14. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

    You have n problems. You go for XML.

    Now you have n+1 problems, for a very large value of "1".

  15. Doctor_Wibble

    Like "democratise"

    These are words used by people who don't like the status quo, i.e. that a small number of people have all the control and money, and 'disruptive' and 'democratising' is a way of having a go at that in order for all the money and control to end up in the hands of a different small number of people. If you want the money, be honest and maybe we won't actually have a problem with that.

    In that grand dream of the disrupted democratised future, who is it that we envision standing on that hill looking down at the adoring masses?

    p.s. how many fckn google recaptchas per post? this is the price of commenting, presumably? that's six or seven just for this FFS

  16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Sanity check

    Disrupting your business will cost money to buy new stuff, waste everybody's time whilst you get the new stuff in place and pay the TNT. Do you have that money?

    Yes: You're doing fine & don't need to be disrupted.

    No: You can't afford to be disrupted.

    1. Shadow Systems

      Re: Sanity check

      THIS! By all the Elder Gods of Blighted Insanity & Noodley Appendages, THIS!

      I can't up vote you enough for that, so go enjoy a pint or two on me & consider yourself enthusiasticly agreed with.

  17. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Disruption cannot be sold

    Disruption means "A new product or service that nobody predicted".

    Thus it's obviously not something that any consultant can possibly provide, and therefore anyone trying to sell it should be introduced to the stairs BOFH-style.

    Companies do need to be able to spot a disruptive technology before they get disrupted, and follow Kodak.

  18. Unicornpiss

    I never thought Dr. Dre had very good cans...

    Regardless, re. disruption, I'm going to start a consultancy that will have midgets wearing funny hats come in and randomly kick people in the shins, defecate on the copier glass, remove bolts from chairs, etc. all in the name of disruption. I should soon be a multi-gzillionaire!

    1. Shadow Systems

      Re: I never thought Dr. Dre had very good cans...

      Are you hiring? I'd like to work for your company! =-D

  19. Brian 39
    IT Angle

    >Depending upon whether your boss hires Steve-the-TNT,

    An ex-CIO I know lasted two years and then retired, all due to "disruption".


  20. Chris G Silver badge

    I can do that!

    For half the price.

    Let me change all your passwords to 123456, disable yoru firewall and uninstall any anti malware, in no time you should have all the disruption you could possibly desire.

    It may be easier to put right as well.

    I am deeply suspicious of TNTs and their female counterparts, whose speech is liberally sprinkled with phrases or words like disruptive technology, pro-active, synerg/y/ize/izing/istic, reach-out etc, BS buzzwords are for people who don't have anything that is genuinely meaningful to say.

    If a sales pitch is so 'clever' that you have to pause to translate it into plain English ( if you can), it's a fair bet the cost will be higher than you are willing to pay and not necessarily only financialand the product will probably turn out to have no practical use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can do that!

      Reach out.... i can't stand that phrase and insist on taking it literally whenever it is said... its usually the Merkins who use it and then get confused about my confusion over "reaching out, what through your know i am 6000 miles away right?"... then i come in with the killer .. "Ta very much"

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: I can do that!

        Just add to the phrase "reach out"... as in "Ok, I'll reach out and touch someone.... with a 30-06". These kinds of 'disruptions' vocally can change the buzzwords to something less offensive.

        1. x 7

          Re: I can do that!


          you'd best put a link or explanation regarding that phrase as elucidation for us non-USAians who aren't au fait with the terminology of murder and bloodshed

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: I can do that!

            You're right... I used to consider that "reaching out" should involve a cattle prod. However, this often did not change behavior. A 30-06 is a rifle.. for long distance "reaching out".

            As near as I can tell, this buzzphrase comes from an old AT&T commercial series wherein the phrase "reach out and touch someone" was used followed by touchy-feely pictures and music. Shortly after, it was picked up by touchy-feely management. Who says advertising doesn't work?

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Captain DaFt

            Re: I can do that!

            "you'd best put a link or explanation regarding that phrase as elucidation for us non-USAians"

            OK, the kinder and gentler version: "Reach out? With my boot or my fist?"

            Still gets the point across.

          4. Trygve Henriksen

            Re: I can do that!

            That's 30-06 Springfield caliber, or 7.62x63mm for everyone using a sensible measuring system.

            Slightly more powerful than the 7.62x51 NATO round,

            30 - for 0.30" caliber,

            06 - for 1906, the year it was adopted for use by the US Army.

            It must not be confused with 30-40 which is sometimes called '.30 U-S.' or '.30 Army', though.

  21. silent_count

    Ahh.. "disruption"

    'Disruption' is in this century what 'synergy' was in the previous one - a clear sign that the speaker is peddling in vacuous drivel.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Ahh.. "disruption"

      "'Disruption' is in this century what 'synergy' was in the previous one"

      Aw, but that was one of my favorites; "Synergy? You mean you want me to devote more of my work energy to sin? OK, I'm in!"

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dabbs' column

    Is this a complete spoof?

    I used to read the bofh articles a dozen years ago and chuckle a bit. Now I'm convinced that bofh is as real as dabbs - i.e. not very.

    Many of us are, in the meantime stuck in the present.

    Now is great!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dabbs' column

      I used to work in corporate events - setting up stages and handling lighting, sound and PowerPoint* for CEOs and the like.

      It paid pretty well, albeit sometimes very boring.

      This is very real. I saw a hell of a lot of this kind of insane rubbish - pretty much every large company goes down this path of paying for pointless consultancy after being told the right set of buzzwords.

      Even in very low-margin, high-turnover industries where a small mistake could kill an entire multi-million pound business.

      * You don't think anyone lets an xEO operate a PowerPoint unaided?They'd hurt themselves.

      Anon just in case I'm short on cash and want to do it again.

  23. x 7

    thanks for the Coventry concert link - fist time I've seen a decent copy online, all the others I've seen were poor quality digitised VCRs.

    I can still remember when this was broadcast on BBC2 - my father couldn't understand what he was watching, and was quite upset at the idea of a lot of long haired german unwashed hippies in Coventry

  24. John Tserkezis

    Wait, wait... Wait, wait...

    Alistair, are you saying you bought Beats headphones and expected them to work?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, I know. We're all gonna be "digitised"

    I'm suffering the TNT's attention here in the in-house Social Media project.

    Will the knobwits never learn? The TNT makes selling the King some New Clotes that stupid people can;e see look lame beyond belief. Duh management welcome it with open arms, blathering how fabulous it is and how wonderfully we will all perform and how our email traffic will just disappear.

    What d we end up with? An unending stream of fatuous, sycophantic remarks and the HR dept and other hangers-on, pushing even more drivel out, stuffed with stock photos of carefully demographically balanced groups of smiling faces, plus interminable videos of the management looking Very Important.

    I would dearly love to orchestrate a lift shaft door failure for the TNT, the burbles who think this kind of thing is a good idea and anyone from Tibbr, I really would.

  26. OzBob

    The lesser evil

    is the manager who reads something in Gartner and reorgs the IT division based on his interpretation. As we all sat together and our salary ranges didn't change, we attended meetings in our respective roles and told everyone else what was going on afterwards, in essence basically ignoring the dividing lines. But that only works when no-one tries to take the mick and extend their job remit.

  27. poslfit

    XML? You wish.

    If you were around in the 1980s, that TNT would have been pushing an SGML solution, similar to an XML one, but less standardized and more customizable. I coded for two companies that offered both an SGML option and a reasonably priced choice for typesetting, and it never failed to amazed me how many customers chose SGML. We must have had a really good TNT.

  28. jbuk1

    What's a TNT?

    Sorry, I can't search the comments to see if anyone has answered that question as Ctrl+f has been disrupted by my iPad.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      TNT = Turtle-Necked Twat, the article defines this implicitly.

      Beer, because I managed to fix my disrupted computer (took two bloody days).

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Though to be fair, the punnish initialism also applies because, after he's had his turn through your firm, the fallout will make you think a drum full of trinitrotoluene had gone off in the office.

  29. Adrian Midgley 1

    Steve spends most of his time now with Ministers

    telling them how the NHS should work.

  30. Martin Budden Silver badge

    "run a square mile"

    For some reason this phrase conjured up a mental image of Sheldon Cooper hurrying as fast as his lanky legs can carry him for approximately 1.6 km with arms flailing randomly.

  31. WaveyDavey


    I really miss my AKG K41's from 1980. They were the mutt's nuts - square foam pads that went around my ears, so I could listen while laying on my side without squishing my ears to buggery. And amazing sound.

  32. RichardB

    Etymology of Consultant?

    The true origins of the word Consultant - when applied to business or IT practice at least - appears as a 3 stage contraction of 'Confidence Trick', 'Insult', and 'Irritant'.

    I have yet to meet one that did not stick to their literary origins.

  33. Filippo Silver badge

    I do consultant work, but I joke that I prefer to call myself a mercenary. Anyway, the way I do it is, my bill only comes after deployment, and it's nearly always equal to the forecast budget.

    I disapprove both of this thing of paying people while you're not even certain you're getting what you're paying for, and of this other thing of paying people more money because *they* screwed up the initial analysis.

  34. netminder

    The consultants creed


    If you can't be part of the solution there is good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

  35. x 7

    didn't Steve Jobs wear turtlenecks?

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