A Final Lesson From Clayton Christensen

‘Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time.’

James Allworth
Marker
Published in
5 min readJan 31, 2020

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Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Most know Professor Christensen for his business academic work — in particular, his ground-breaking work on the theory of disruptive innovation. Getting to be his student, and the co-author of How Will You Measure Your Life?, I had the privilege of getting to know another side of him: a deeply principled man, committed to his religion, and to the people in his life. While many people view professional, personal, and spiritual as distinct parts of life, Clay was the same person in each. It was just the way his mind worked.

The following excerpt reflects that beautifully — how he could effortlessly move from generating insight in the business world, to helping to frame decisions in your personal life.

He was an incredible man, with an incredible mind, deeply committed to doing good in the world. He will be missed tremendously. — James Allworth

InIn 1997, when a little company called Netflix came on the scene offering DVD rentals in the mail, it was David going up against the Goliath of the movie rental industry: Blockbuster. By 2002, the upstart was showing signs of potential, with $150 million in revenues and a 36% profit margin. Nervous Blockbuster investors pressured the incumbent to look more…

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James Allworth
Marker

Co-host @exponentFM, Co-author @MeasureYourLife, Fellow @ClayChristensen's thinktank, writer @HarvardBiz