In the wake of Steve Job’s passing, the term ‘disruptive technology’ has been thrown about in reference to the iPhone, and how it changed the smartphone industry. Disruptive technology is a term coined by Clayton M. Christensen that describes a real innovation, one that creates a new market and value network, and that fundamentally changes an industry.

Disruptive technologies are usually in contrast with sustaining technologies, which evolve existing products incrementally. Disruptive examples would be products like Wikipedia, which destroyed the encyclopaedia market, or the Kindle which is currently transforming the entire publishing industry.

The open-source movement also contributes hugely to innovation and spectacular growth, and has produced many disruptive technologies.

I’m thinking of the open protocols of the internet. Or Apache server software, which serves over 50% of the entire web. Or back to Wikipedia – it’s number 5 on Alexa’s list of most visited websites, and it creates, manages, and delivers content to over 50 million unique visitors in a single day. The technology that runs Wikipedia is completely open and free for anyone else to use.

I would argue that WordPress too is a disruptive technology, as wordpress.com moves past eBay to number 18 on the global traffic rankings. WordPress is becoming one of the big names in online publishing and content management systems, growing to power 14.7% of the top million websites in the world, up from 8.5% a year ago.

Let me clarify one quick thing – when I say WordPress, I refer to the open source platform, not the free blogging service. WordPress.com is sustaining technology – there are many similar services out there. But the software that runs it, which you can download from WordPress.org, is what I’m most interested in.

Here’s why I think WordPress is disruptive:

It’s insanely extensible.
Over 16,000 plugins and widgets extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine (contact forms, polls, e-commerce, event registration, comments, email subscriptions, notifications, translation and localization, SEO, integration with CRM, analytics, cross-funcationality with many third party platforms…and the list goes on)

It’s capabilities as an Enterprise Content Management system, which were boosted in the latest 3.0 release.
BestBuy uses WordPress’s multisite functionality, which lets you create a network of websites that are linked. There’s one site super-admin who gives permissions to each store admin, and each store admin can maintain their local BestBuy digital presence individually. Read the case study here. The days of massive, expensive, and complex ECM rollouts will soon be over.

It’s easy to use, and it just works.
No one in the digital content management or publishing field has come closer to creating a more friendly user experience than WordPress, and it gets better with each release. Pages, posts, widgets, layouts, media libraries, comments, plugins…they’re all easy to access and change, with no technical knowledge needed by the administrator.

The community cares.
Got a question about your WordPress installation? Swing over to the forums and note the 2.7 million registered users, the massive and easy to navigate documentation, and the many helpful experts who purvey free support. Got a really tough project and need a pro? The WordPress job board grows daily.

It caters to content.
Originally created as a blogging platform, WordPress is designed specifically for the most popular (and some would argue the most effective) marketing method online: content marketing. Content Marketing means creating and freely sharing informative content as a means of converting prospects into repeat customers, whether they’re buying crocodile skin boots or looking for the world’s funniest laughing baby videos.