Extreme Technology Disruption

The Big Wave Surfing Book is about extremes!

If you want to read the street fighter's guide to the technology business, you are at the right place. Technology disruption creates the opportunity for the application of extreme techniques to quickly build products and create high growth companies.


Big Waves are Unpredictable

The Big Wave Surfing Book is about managing unpredictable events!

Value is created when you can exploit rapid changes in the technology environment. You must be quick because the window of opportunity can close very quickly. Be quick and you will catch the latest big wave. Be slow and miss the wave. Be sloppy riding the face of the wave and you will wipe out.

Thomas Madison, President and CEO of MLM Partners (a business, consulting and investment group), Lead Director Digital River, (Formerly) Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Company, (Formerly) President of US West Communications-Markets, (Formerly) Chief Executive Officer and President of Northwestern Bell Telephone Company

The book BIG WAVE SURFING summarizes very effectively the fast paced impact of technology changes on markets and businesses. It is very well done, current and interesting to read. Companies that are in the technology business will find the book helpful as they plan their strategies.

Jere Glover, Attorney at Brand Law Group, Managing Director Homeland Venture Partners, LP (a $100 million private equity firm), Executive Director of the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC), (Formerly) Chief Counsel for Advocacy from 1994-2001 at SBA (Small Business Administration), (Formerly) CEO/Principal of a Biotech Company and a Medical Technology Company

This is a great book! It is one you will enjoy reading and keep as a reference to look at when problems and challenges occur as you are developing your technology and your business. Unlike other books, its focus is on how your technology fits into the overall technology development.

Peter C. Patton, Ph.D., Professor of Engineering and Philosophy, Oklahoma Christian University, (Formerly) Chief Technology Officer Lawson Software

Dr. Thurber’s surfing metaphor is a very apt one for today’s Information Age economy. There are more honors students in India than total students in the USA and there are more honors students in China than students in India, but we are only 27th world-wide in educational performance.  So, where does our future lie? Dr. Thurber’s philosophy for dealing with rapid technology change is not just the hope for maintaining our economy and our way of life, it is the only hope.

I have abstracted from the book three theorems which guide his presentation. Theorem 1: High tech jobs create the new breed of manufacturing jobs. Theorem 2:  Small business is the engine of the innovation economy. Theorem 3:  There are always technology innovation opportunities available, especially in hard times.

We must simply turn the crank of our genius for innovative technology faster than India and China can copy us.  Ken Thurber tells us how to do it in this very well-written book. I have known and worked with Ken for nearly 40 years and have seen him apply what he teaches in this fascinating book many, many times.  It works, and as a Pragmatist I assert that if it works it is true, and if it is true it must work!

Pat Dillon, (Formerly) Executive Director Minnesota Project Innovation

A fascinating and thought provoking analogy of big waves and the technology innovation ecosystem.  Every technology entrepreneur must know where they are on the wave and then paddle like hell!

Luana Metil, Author of the best selling book “The Story of Karate: From Buddhism to Bruce Lee”

Readable! Unique! Practical! I am able to read the book in convenient bits and pieces that fit into my time constrained hectic lifestyle. Ken puts the reader on the face of a technology big wave and insures that they are able to ride the wave by providing insightful and easily understood examples. A must read for everyone interested in the future of our economy and wanting to better understand the dynamics of the technology industry. I wish everyone big waves and long rides!

Norm Williams, Technology Staffing Recruiter & Consultant

For all of us who experienced the “.bomb” Hi-Tech Implosion, I wonder if the “.bomb” would have been as loud if Ken’s book had been out back then.

Stephen Gierl, CFP, Gierl Augustine Investment Management, Inc.

As an investment professional for more than 30 years, I have met my share of bright and successful entrepreneurs.  However, in the world of technology, I have come across no one with a background as diverse and thorough as Ken Thurber’s.  Innovation, business development and investing, when it comes to technology, Ken has done it all and then some!

When Ken asked me if I would read his book and share my thoughts, my first impulse was, oh no, a technology book that will put me to sleep in minutes!  I was sure relieved to find that reading “Big Wave Surfing” was like going to dinner with Ken.  In a conversational manner, Ken is able to impart to the reader a lifetime of experience. Whether you dream to create the next must have technology, or could gain from insights in transitioning that idea to a successful business or, like me, are looking to surf that next big wave as an investor, there is something in “Big Wave Surfing” for you.

Tom von Kuster, Angel Investor and Partner American Export (AmEx)

Ken’s book identifies how “big waves” get started and how you can make money and find jobs riding them.  It’s an easy read and he lets you know when to get off so you don’t lose money on crashing waves.  To paraphrase a friend, unlike canned beer, the more you consume the smarter you get.

Betsy Lulfs, Executive Director, Minnesota Science and Technology Authority

Ken takes you on the ride of your life and teaches you how to become a successful big wave surfer.  He shares his stories on how to recognize disruptions, payoffs and tradeoffs and that every wave will be different depending on the structure and timing of the marketplace.  He makes you laugh as he leads you to think strategically.

Roger Thorvilson, Membership Coordinator MT Chapter-National Association of Social Worker, (Formerly) Division Administrator, MT Department of Environmental Quality

Surfing is the metaphor, but Ken Thurber’s book proves to be an adept insider’s discussion of entrepreneurial risk-taking at the interface of American commerce and technology. His approach to the subject provides a clear, unique perspective. Definitely not your dry economics tome, this well-crafted book is both revealing and entertaining from cover to cover.

Earl F. Griffith, President, Griffith Environmental Consulting, Inc.

Unconventional, like no other, Smart, beyond anyone’s imagination. And, when all of us dreamed of having a 55-57 Chevy, Dr. Thurber was driving an unconventional 1929 Model A in a lovely bright lime green primer with a Dearborn balanced and blueprinted Ford flathead sporting twin Stromberg 97s. This treatise of unconventional and necessary wisdom comes from an exceptional engineer who speaks from his 40 plus years of success in the high tech world of computers. Well written with a dash of humor and unbridled optimism, Big Wave Surfing is a must read for anyone who is concerned about the economic future of our country.

Jeff Martin, CEO, Carollo Systems, LLC

“Big Wave Surfing” is definitely a prerequisite before you paddle like crazy to make your next wave. Creating, riding and capitalizing on the big wave can be a daunting adventure, but Ken’s insightful approach may just be what it takes to get you out of the beach chair and enjoy the ride of your life. Keep Surfing.

Spotting Big Waves
Storms Create Disruption Disruption can take many forms: political, economic, legislative and technology. You want to think about the impacts of disruption on the possible future of products and systems. You need to develop unconventional scenarios that look at the possible effects of disruption. You need not be the person who causes disruption, but you can be the person who uses disruption to your advantage.
Riding Big Waves

Appropriate Tactics Avoid Wipe Outs

The main categories of players that can set out on the big wave are the lead developer (and the development team), the technical management, the marketing staff, and the investors supplying money to the product process. Each of these groups has a unique perspective. However, there are some lessons learned about how to achieve success within these various disciplines in fast growing companies. The lessons of how to achieve a fast growth rate and the sacrifices that growth may cause can be very painful.