Disruptive technologies disrupt more than marketing plans and product cycles. “He Took On the Whole Power-Tool Industry” recounts Stephen Gass’ attempts to get his SawStop safety technology licensed by the power tool industry. A compelling read and a compelling example of how social bodies respond to innovation as an invader.
Caught up with a fascinating story by Robbie McClaren from the July 2005 issue of Inc. Magazine. Despite raves from saw users and some 32,000 table saw-related accidents per year, not a single manufacturer was willing to adopt the innovation, which could tell the difference between lumber and finger and stop a spinning blade instantly.
“Why isn't SawStop on every table saw on the market? That's the funny thing about better mousetraps. Build one, and the other mousetrap makers will probably hate your guts. They might even try to squeeze you out of the mousetrap business altogether. Just ask the inventors of air bags, safer cigarette lighters, and automatic shutoffs for electrical appliances…”
But before you start crusading for SawStop's cause, read the comments appending the article. The case might be less clearcut than the article claims.