Received a copy of The Big Disrupter by Paul Markun through the First Reads Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review
"If you know both yourself and your enemies, you can win numerous battles without jeopardy."
Lionel Lane is a self-made man that has lead him to be the owner and chief operating officer of a nutritional juice company called Double Vision. At its current state, his business is struggling mightily and Lionel has reached a crossroads with his San Francisco based company. "Cash is King" is not a mantra working in Double Vision's favour at this time despite their relative successes in the market. On the night of a big rewards banquet celebrating social consciousness Lionel is told by his resident CPA and Chief Financial Officer Harding Liu that Double Vision would be going bankrupt within thirty days if an investment into the company is not made within that time period. Lionel sees his nomination for social entrepreneur of the year as a significant point of interest for prospective venture capitalists. This reward for past success will be one to consider and one that he will put out in the forefront as a conversation starter for all the angels with deep pockets in the room. Maxine Gold is a financial advisor that went to Harvard with Lionel and at one point crossed paths and had a short fling. Maxine has floated around as a consultant for many companies but is looking for an opportunity to make it on her own. She is currently a board member for a company that is also a nominee for the award. Maxine is desperate to find a business to call her own and make her own mark in the business world.
At the end of the night both Maxine and Lionel are sore luck losers, but an announcement is made that in six months a big reward of one billion dollars will be awarded to a social business that disrupts the market for the betterment of mankind. The winner of The Big Disrupter will be determined first off by sales and positive customer response. It will also answer tough questions such as: is there a tangible benefit for society? is there a sustained impact over time? is the product solving a problem of a critical nature? For one billion dollars it must meet all of these criterion. With this latest news and the help of a legend in the financial community named Jacob Havermyer, both Maxine and Lionel will have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Lionel wants to change the world and as a daring man in life as well as an entrepreneur he will do whatever it takes to reach his goals. Maxine wants to leave a legacy, before she does that Maxine wants to rid herself of the feeling that others have that she slept her way to the top, and the skepticism she feels that others have of her as a black woman in the corporate world. As a team, are these independent goals mutually inclusive or in their efforts to achieve them will they ruin everything they've gained up to this point?
With two new Co-CEO's to handle all the media interviews and government redtape, Double Vision wants to create a social media buzz, utilizing event marketing, to garner a much needed youthful enthusiasm. Part of their plan is to expand their product line into the caffeine/sugar driven drink and they will attack that market by promoting a vivacious young mountain woman from Telluride, Colorado named Reddi Christiansen. Reddi is an athletic, caring big sister to Hannah and dependable daughter to her father Larry. Her mother died of cancer three years prior and Larry is facing a big life changing decision for the whole family. Reddi is a competitive slopestyle skier and has dreams of winning the X-Games and competing in the Olympics. On one chance encounter she is given the ability to change her life and fulfill her life's dreams. The question is whether she will be able to handle the pressure that comes with the increased responsibility of having a multi-million dollar corporation relying on your results.
There are plenty of business and marketing principles and strategies being employed and scrutinized within this book. Being a graduate of a business program I found it to be really interesting and also accessible to people who hesitate in reading books with this kind of subject matter as there may be a fear that it may fly over their heads. You don't have to worry about price-earnings ratios or anything like that, with a simple knowledge of business fundamentals you will get through it just fine, with some fun along the way. My favourite underused character was Dasha Romanyuk. She had a great story with plenty of internal struggle and was truly a sympathetic character given her true intentions. I wish the reader would have had the opportunity to get to know her a bit more. With Russian, Ukrainian characters in past novels the reader has a preconceived notion as to their disposition. With Dasha it was different, or was it?
There weren't many surprises or twists and turns that I hope for when I am reading a book in this genre, but is was a solid read none the less. This story won't blow your mind, but it is written with great detail and information that will maintain your interest. If you like extreme daredevil entrepreneurs, explosions, seemingly average joe's free-climbing buildings, teetering on the precipice of a cliff, man made avalanches, counter-surveillance, Russian mafia, and other energy-charged episodes then this book is for you.
"In the past ten years in the U.S., energy drinks have grown from eight million dollars per year to over nine billion dollars. That's one thousand times bigger in ten years. Imagine doing that worldwide."