#LSA19: Disruption is a Combination of Algorithm & People Wisdom

The final keynote from day one at LSA19 was presented by Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and a strategic adviser to Airbnb. As the best-selling author of five books, Chip shared his knowledge on leadership and culture, as well as how organizations can thrive in an era of disruption.

Admittedly, Chip explained that his presentation isn’t necessarily specific to the SEO and local search landscape, but he hoped his presentation would encourage attendees to ask themselves, “How can I look at the landscape ahead of me in a whole new way?”

Sticking to his presentation’s premise of “Surfing Disruption,” he explained the similarities between surfing and entrepreneurship. Storms, or difficult times, for example, can often provide the best conditions. He also expressed the necessity to understand what’s going on underneath the surface, much like a surfer likes to know what’s going on beneath a wave.

According to Chip, disruption is a combination of algorithm and people wisdom and the best disruptors are adept at both high tech and high touch.

The companies who are most at risk of disruption include those who have:

  • Grown complacent by past successes
  • Lost touch with their core customers’ evolving needs
  • Didn’t imagine a whole new set of customers
  • Don’t take new competitors seriously
  • No clue what the true essence of their product is

Referencing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Chip highlighted his view of an average customer’s pyramid of needs (shown below). “The best companies out there are able to sort of mindread their customers so well that they reach the top of the pyramid,” he said.


He posed three questions for the audience, with a valuable tidbit for helping to answer each one.

  • What’s your shortcut to understanding the psychographic of your customers?
    • Find a tool for deeply understanding your customer’s core needs.
  • What business are you in?
    • Discover the true essence of your business.
  • How does your customer feedback loop create constant, instant improvement in your product or service?
    • Use feedback as your compass.

He then offered one final point to close out his presentation. “My mom didn’t want me to surf as a kid, and I grew up nearly on a beach. But now I’m learning to surf and, more than anything, I’m here as evidence that at any age you can find an opportunity to create and disrupt,” he said.

Leave a Reply

(Comment Guidelines)



First Name

Last Name

Company Name

Email Address