Disrupting Hypnotherapy: My Vision for Hypnotizr

What do Wikipedia, Netflix and Travelocity have in common?

They aren't just websites. They're disruptive innovations. Wikipedia defines disruptive innovation as "An innovation that creates a new market by applying a different set of values, which ultimately (and unexpectedly) overtakes an existing market."

Examples of disruptive innovation exist all over the Internet. Take Wikipedia, for example. It has replaced traditional encyclopedias so completely that Encyclopedia Brittanica, an institution that has existed for almost 250 years, published its last print edition in 2010. Similarly, Netflix is killing the video rental industry by making it possible to watch your favourite movies without leaving your home, at a flat monthly rate. And Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia and other online travel sites have decimated the travel agent industry by making it easy to book flights and hotels online.

But here's the kicker: These companies don't rate highly at all when evaluated using traditional criteria, such as expert authorship (Encyclopedia Britannica), the newest video releases (Blockbuster) or service with a smile (travel agents). If you judged the disruptive companies based on these criteria, you would have predicted that they were destined to fail. Indeed, when they were first launched they weren't taken seriously by the incumbent companies. But to consumers, they were good enough, and offered their own advantages at a low price. That means they began to catch on among early adopters. And the time they became popular, they had so much momentum that they left the incumbent companies eating their dust.

My goal for Hypnotizr isn't exactly to disrupt the hypnotherapy market—after all, I have too many friends who are professional hypnotherapists—but if it's successful, disrupting the marketplace will be an inevitable side effect. It won't be an easy road, however. Like all disruptive innovations, Hypnotizr doesn't rate according to the criteria you would use for evaluating one-on-one sessions with a hypnotherapist. If you need a good listener or a warm personality, please do yourself a favour and visit a local hypnotherapist. We can't compete on that basis. And if you have a complicated personal history or highly specialized needs, you need a professional you can talk to. However, if you want custom hypnosis sessions that are delivered online at an affordable price, that's exactly where Hypnotizr excels.

The Hypnotizr you see today isn't my final vision for the company. Looking into the future, I have a grander vision for Hypnotizr that will eventually include artificial intelligence, machine learning and building the biggest hypnosis "laboratory" in the world. Let me explain: Our current service could eventually be automated and scaled up. When that happens, we will have thousands of monthly users experiencing hypnosis with thousands of different variations and offering quantitative feedback afterward. Not only will we be able to answer basic questions like "What is hypnotherapy's efficacy rate for smoking cessation?" we will also be able to answer questions like "Exactly what suggestions work best for which issues?" or "What types of suggestions work best for which personality types?" with solid, scientific data.

Since I'm still years away from implementing this plan, I don't want to write too much about it. I'll just say that I'm excited to be leading Hypnotizr in this direction, and I'm grateful to have the support of our early adopter customers and a strong team backing me up.