Well, in theory... Pat Ferrucci's S33 recaps

Ep.5: David continues forcing others to innovate


What would this current season be without David?


That’s the question I keep asking myself. Despite a gut feeling in the back of my brain that tells me I’m watching a trainwreck of a season, I can’t help but find myself enjoying Millennials vs. Gen X.


Is anyone else feeling that way, too? If you are, let’s talk about it in the comments section.


I mean, let’s be honest here: Very few people are making good moves and most of the cast feel pretty much generic. Of course, that could be because producers are choosing to make only a small number of castaways actual three-dimensional characters, but, regardless, this season seems chock full of cannon fodder … folks that have no chance of winning and, if by some miracle they do, we’ll look at them as undeserving (fairly or unfairly).


And this all brings me back to David. This show loves underdogs and there is no doubt that’s David. He started off in a horrible spot and, to his credit, he’s somehow barely made an appearance on a piece of parchment. But yet each week that goes by, we all talk about the bad or, at best, mediocre moves he’s making.


David saves Christmas


That got me thinking: Can someone effectively play Survivor by just making huge move after huge move, regardless of whether it’s actually a good move? I mean, in a way, The Great Tony Vlachos did that, but Tony had an uncanny ability to know when to make the right moves.


Basically, this made me wonder if David can succeed at this game by embodying a disruptive innovation.


The theory of disruptive innovation was coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. And before we get to an explanation of the theory, just know that Christensen’s book on the subject was so well-received and impactful, that it did the nearly impossible: It became an academic book that sold well enough to make the New York Times Best Sellers list.


Fundamentally, the idea behind the theory of disruptive innovation is that there are times, usually sparked by technology, that an innovation enters the marketplace and it is so powerful that it can not only affect a market, but so thoroughly disrupt it that its leaders are threatened or, even, toppled. Basically, Christensen argued that that when a groundbreaking and unpredicted technological innovation enters an industry, one reason that industry leaders tend to struggle is because they are often too large and not nimble enough to adapt. So by the time industry leaders adapts to the innovation, it’s too late.


Obviously, the theory traditionally gets applied in business research as a means of trying to understand how companies succeed or fail in the face of a drastically changing technological landscape. In fact, at first, Christensen called the theory the theory of disruptive technology. But he changed it because he soon realized people force change and innovation, not the technology.


David and Chris


And, in a way, I would argue David is kind of doing that during this season. He’s making Big Moves™ and those are clearly affecting the game. What I’m really wondering is whether he’s making such big moves that he’s disrupting how the game would normally be played … especially by the Generation X tribe.


Think about it: He was originally on a very conservative tribe and his couple major moves really shook up said tribe. Now I wonder if the tribe was not at all nimble enough to adapt to David’s game and are all making big mistakes now. So, my theory is, really, that David’s affected the game in such a way that his original tribe cannot adapt to, and thus he’s basically become immune from being a target because they’re scared.


Does this make sense? I feel like there’s no real theory behind voting off CeCe. But there is a theory that would explain why David wouldn’t be more of a target, at least a theory that doesn’t involve implicit racial bias. And that theory would be disruptive innovation. David’s fundamentally changed how his old tribe operates. Let’s see if it lasts.


And here’s what I’m thinking about each of the new tribes.





  • 1. Chris — This is where Chris wanted to be all along: A place where he can call the shots … at least on a surface level. And that’s going to be the problem with Chris moving forward, I think. He’s not looking at the big picture. Zeke whispered sweet nothings about Oklahoma football into his ear while Chris already daydreamed about revenge. That meant, to Chris, getting rid of CeCe made sense. Must stay strong tribe, Chris grunts in his sleep daily. Unfortunately, staying strong just doesn’t matter right now. They could have ditched Michelle and got rid of a strong player. Instead, CeCe goes home for no real reason.


  • 2. David — Nothing this dude does makes sense to me … except looking for and finding idols. Why does it make sense to save Jessica, who wasn’t in your alliance, but not CeCe, arguably your biggest ally? I’m not saying I would have done it in that spot, but, man, what’s the point of it all?


  • 3. Michelle — In a season full of inexplicable moves, Michelle subtly keeps making big moves … correct ones. Right now, I’m digging the savviness of Michelle’s game and thinking she might go pretty damn far.


  • 4. Zeke — Welcome back to talking, Zeke. I missed you the last couple weeks. Good job getting on Chris’ good side and making the Gen Xers split. 





  • 1. Bret — The image of Bret watching Jay accomplish stuff will never leave my brain. Never.


  • 2. Sunday — In the real world we hear from Sunday once a week because, you know, Sunday is a day of the week. On Survivor, though, we never hear from Sunday. She just doesn’t ever speak … and when she does, she’s not saying much at all.


  • 3. Hannah — I’m still convinced this could be a hell of a season if everyone was removed from the island and we just watched Hannah survive on her own and do the challenges solo. I’m telling you, that would be my favorite television show.


  • 4. Michaela — Michaela was all over the emotion map this week. People prone to bursts of emotion, one way or the other, tend not to do well on this show. So let’s hope, moving forward, Michaela starts to control those emotions since, you know, I’m rooting for her to win.


  • 5. Will — Weirdly, since we never hear from him and he doesn’t seem to ever make good moves, I think Will is in a good spot right now. The Millennials outnumber the competition by a ton, he’s on a tribe with plenty more Millennials and a couple fellow Jesus and presumably Reagan fanboys, and, when a merge comes, Will will not stick out next to the big physical folks or savvy strategists.


  • 6. Jay — It’s like clockwork, every week that goes by, my appreciation for Jay increases. He’s a machine.





  • 1. Ken — I’m scared for Ken right now. I know he made some inroads with Adam, but if this tribe loses immunity next week, if I had to bet, I think Ken’s heading home. Let’s hope not because Ken is just a fun dude to watch play.


  • 2. Jessica — I’m not exactly sure what to think about Jessica right now. We didn’t see her do much this week. While that might for the better, I think she needs to follow Ken’s lead and start cozying up to Adam. Otherwise, she could be a target next week also.


  • 3. Adam — From the bottom of his tribe last week, to the pivotal vote this week. Things are looking up for Adam, he of the infamous Winner’s Edit™.


  • 4. Taylor — Man, you know what Taylor is going to say when Figgy finally lets him show affection to her hotness next week? Sicky sicky gnar gnar, of course. He won’t say that, of course, if Adam jumps ship and Taylor gets his flame snuffed because he wasn’t really paying attention to tribe dynamics.


  • 5. Figgy — By telling Taylor to cool it with the affection, Figgy finally shows some self-awareness. If she can do that a little more, she may actually start playing the game OK.


All righty then. Let’s talk next week. As we get closer and closer to the merge, I’m getting more and more excited about this season.


Pat Ferrucci Survivor 31 recapsPat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @patferrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.