The Technology of Us
I’ve been in the technology business for a long time and what I can tell you is this: Technology enables us to invent new products and services at rates that humans never before experienced. Whatever the next big thing is in tech doesn’t matter as much as the fact that anyone today has the power to disrupt entire industries with a single, smart idea.
I didn’t set out to be an author, speaker or digital analyst/anthropologist. It just happened over the years.
When I was younger, I studied economics and journalism. I actively experimented in online marketing. I was also a musician/songwriter.
So, how did I get here?
I spent some time with my friends over at Onboardly to answer just that. I’d like to share the transcription of our conversation with you here…
These last few years have been an interesting ride. As fun as it has been, it is the next few years that will be the most telling and also transformative if all goes according to plan. As quickly as time flies, it’s important not to lose sight of the things that remind us of why we’re on this path together. I recently stumbled across a conversation with Eric Jacobson in which I shared what was driving me at the time…and for that matter, is still very much the core of much of my work today.
Skully Systems changed my life and I don’t say that lightly. I’m a motorcycle enthusiast. I’m also a father. Most of the time my bikes stand proudly in my garage showcasing their beauty for an audience of one. I ride on occasion, usually an exceptional opportunity that manifests in the form of weather, stress and guilt. But even then, as I get older, the rides become less frequent, shorter and less ambitious. With the AR-1, Skully is going to change that now and over the years to come as it evolves in capability and prominence.
In April 2012, I wrote a piece that explored online social behavior and its impact on commerce and decision-making. The work was inspired by a series of studies based on the work of Robert Cialdini that identified six universal heuristics that shoppers use to make decisions.
In a late 2013 study, Gallup found that only 13% of workers actually feel engaged at their jobs. What’s worse is that 63% of the workforce is not engaged at all. But wait, the news gets even more disheartening. An astounding 24%, one-quarter of the global workforce, is actively disengaged right now. Essentially we have a significant number of workers doing their best impression of corporate zombies who go through the everyday motions to collect a paycheck.
When I published the first in a new series of reports exploring the state and future of Digital Transformation, it was almost the antithesis of a typical technology report. It didn’t talk about tech trends for automated marketing. It mentioned zero platforms, software or apps for improving processes, manufacturing or customer or employee engagement. It also didn’t talk about the latest enterprise cloud services to improve marketing or CRM or process big data and the like. Instead, I, along with my Altimeter Group colleagues Jaimy Szymanski and Charlene Li, offered a behind the scenes glimpse to learn about the people who are bringing about change inside of companies and how technology serves an enabler for digital transformation.
Viginia Coutinho is a dear friend who just released a new book (in Portuguese) that helps strategists think differently about social media. She is also the organizer of Upload Lisboa, a fantastic event in Portugal that focuses on innovation and disruptive technologies. Earlier in the year, she surprised me by asking if I would consider writing the foreword. Even though I don’t write much about social media these days, I couldn’t let her down. Now that her book is available, I wanted to share the English version of the foreword with you here.
It’s that time of year when experts share their predictions and others assemble them into long lists. Yay!
I’ve only managed to write one officially so far. And to be honest, it’s less of a prediction and more of something for a wish list, not just for the future of marketing, but all of business.
Have you seen the popular HTC One TV commercial featuring Gary Oldman? It’s quite brilliant really. A highly celebrated A-list actor is paid millions to say little more than “blah blah blah” throughout the entire commercial. I’m reminded of it because that’s the reaction I tend to have these days when I hear the words “big data.” It’s almost as if I’m transported to the classroom in a Peanuts episode listening to the muted voice of the teacher muttering incomprehensible monotone words.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.