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Breaking the Mold: Disruptive Business Models that are Changing the Game

by Angela Jones
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These days, our lives revolve around the internet. We use it for everything from ordering food to finding a new job to watching movies and TV shows. And that’s just the beginning of what companies like Google, Tesla Motors, Apple Inc. (AAPL), and Uber are doing with their business models. The ability to disrupt an entire industry can take years and millions of dollars to achieve—or it can happen overnight with a small startup that finds its way into your pocket or purse through an app on your phone. But there are more than just these five examples of disruptive business models out there; their stories are changing how we live our lives every day.


Uber is a ride-sharing service that allows users to connect with drivers in their area. Uber drivers use their own cars to provide rides, and the company takes a 20% cut of each fare. Uber also offers food delivery services in some cities.

Uber was founded in 2009 by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, who met while studying at UCLA. The company launched in San Francisco with just five cars on the road but has since grown into one of the most valuable startups in the world–with operations in more than 600 cities worldwide and an estimated valuation of $60 billion as of 2018.[10]


Airbnb is a hospitality company that allows people to list, discover and book unique accommodations around the world. Airbnb is also a platform that connects hosts with guests.

Hosts in more than 34,000 cities have opened their homes to travelers from all over the globe, creating a global community of shared experiences by providing firsthand knowledge of an area’s culture and attractions. Guests can search for local places to stay on the platform as well as book directly through its mobile app or website (www.airbnb.com).

Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is a subscription service that sends you clothing and accessories each month. You fill out a style profile, and then Stitch Fix selects items based on your preferences. The company sends five items at a time: two pieces of apparel (such as blouses or skirts), two accessories (such as scarves), and one item of jewelry. If you like everything in the box, keep it! If not, simply return what you don’t want to keep–and then wait for the next shipment.

Stitch Fix offers customers convenience because they don’t have to shop around or go clothes shopping again until their next box arrives; they can just sit back while someone else does all the work for them! Plus, if something doesn’t fit quite right but otherwise looks good on you? No problem! Stitch Fix will send an alterations specialist who can fix any issues before returning your purchases back into inventory for future customers’ enjoyment.*


Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world and has grown exponentially in the last decade. It’s also a leader in e-commerce, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, logistics and more. Amazon has been able to achieve this success by disrupting traditional industries like retail through innovation around business models such as:

  • Marketplace/Third Party Sales – The seller marketplace allows third parties to sell their products on Amazon’s platform rather than have them make their own storefronts or inventory management infrastructure (which would require significant upfront investment). This allows small businesses access to new customers without having to worry about building out their own sales channels first; meanwhile it gives customers access to thousands more products than what would otherwise be available if only using Amazon’s own brand offerings.* Marketplace/Self-Service Fulfillment – The self-service fulfillment option allows sellers who lack warehousing capabilities but still want access into Prime delivery speeds by shipping items directly from their own warehouses instead of waiting up until they’re fulfilled by someone else before getting sent out into the world.* Data Analytics & Ecommerce Platforms Powered By AI


Google’s business model is based on search. The company’s search engine is free to use, but it makes money from advertising. Google has a lot of data on people, which it uses to target ads at them and make money from those ads. This is why you see ads for things you’ve been looking at online–it’s because Google knows what you’re interested in!

Google has become the most popular search engine in the world (and one of the most popular websites overall). But many people don’t know that there was no guarantee this would happen when they first started out; they had several competitors who were trying to do the same thing they were doing: provide easy access to information online through an automated process (in this case by searching).


Netflix is a subscription-based video streaming service that offers Internet television programming and movies. It is the world’s largest paid video streaming service, with over 100 million subscribers worldwide as of 2019.[1]

Netflix’s headquarters are in Los Angeles, California.[2] The company has offices in multiple countries around the world including Brazil,[3] Japan[4] and India.[5] Netflix is a pioneer in the Internet delivery of content through its streaming platform that includes both original content as well as content licensed from other studios.[6][7][8] It also produces non-exclusive series not available on its website such as Stranger Things;[9][10][11] Orange Is The New Black;[12][13][14][15][16] Grace And Frankie;[17][18][19][20]; A Series Of Unfortunate Events[21]; 3%, Travelers,[22],[23],[24],[25],[26], Making A Murderer,[27],[28], Wild Wild Country,[29], Dear White People [30], House Of Cards [31], Bloodline [32], BoJack Horseman,[33], GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling).[34].

Tesla Motors

Tesla is a manufacturer of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. It has several lines of cars, including the Model S sedan, Model X SUV and Model 3 mass-market vehicle. Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and solar panels that cost less than their fossil fuel equivalents.

Tesla was named after Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), inventor of the induction motor and alternating current power distribution system.[2] The company was founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning who financed its operations until 2007 when Elon Musk led an investor group that bought out Eberhard’s stake for US$70 million.[3][4] Musk assumed leadership positions as chairman of both companies before merging them under his personal control by 2008.[5] In addition to leading Tesla Motors[6], Musk concurrently serves as CEO[7] & Chief Product Architect[8] at Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX); Chairman at SolarCity Corporation; Co-Founder & CEO at OpenAI; Co-Chairman at Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc.; Director at Everdream Holdings Limited (EDream); Director at Neuralink Corp.; Member of Advisory Board[9].

Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Apple Inc. (AAPL) has been a pioneer in the technology industry since its founding in 1976. The company’s disruptive business model has led to its success in areas ranging from mobile phones to music and personal computers.

Apple’s first big hit was the iPod, which revolutionized how people listened to music by allowing them to carry thousands of songs around with them on one device instead of storing them on CDs or cassette tapes. Then came iTunes, an online store where users could buy individual songs instead of complete albums at once–a major shift away from buying physical copies at stores like Wal-Mart or Target that required consumers pay almost full price for less than half of what they wanted! This was also when Apple began offering “unlimited” subscriptions through its iCloud service: users could stream unlimited amounts without having any cap set by their provider; this feature became standard across all streaming services today (e..g Spotify).

Disruptive business models can fundamentally change entire industries.

Disruptive business models can fundamentally change entire industries. They do this by offering new and better ways of doing things, which can lead to a major shift in how people think about or behave towards a given industry. For example, ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft are disrupting the taxi industry because they offer a lower-cost service that is also more convenient than taxis–and they’ve changed our behavior so much that many people no longer own cars at all!


Disruptive business models are changing the way we think about traditional industries and creating new ones. They have the potential to disrupt your industry as well. If you’re looking for ways to innovate, these examples can help inspire new ideas or show how others have done it in the past.

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