The Big One!
The one big idea that transcended each and every presentation at the summit is that the world is embarking on a new technological ecosystem. One that has an adoption rate faster than any other technological advance in mankind… MOBILE.
This was best explained in a presentation by Benedict Evans from Andreessen Horowitz, entitled “Mobile Ate the World” – by 2020 almost 2/3rds of the world’s population will have a smartphone, connected to the internet! What does this mean for global commerce?
A core concept reviewed was, technology moves in ecosystems and each ecosystem is the center of innovation and investment for that generation. The PC ecosystem played that role for 30 years, now the mobile ecosystem is taking over.
Just to put a perspective on the change in connectivity and computer power that is changing our behaviors in new and profound ways… over the weekend iPhone6 launched, Apple sold 25x more CPU transistors than were in all the PC’s on earth in 1995… so today everyone gets a pocket supercomputer!
How will/can your business model change to create opportunity from this phenomenon?
A mobile strategy is not simply a mobile web strategy. It is all about how you can leverage the new mobile ecosystem to improve customer service, lower costs, improve speed to market, gather more accurate and reliable data and leverage a new world of sensors to create competitive advantages in the marketplace.
Another great presentation was the author of The Reputation Economy, Michael Fertik. Michael proceeded to talk for 45 minutes based upon this one slide!
The concept that technology moves in waves was supported by Michael. However his position contradicted some of the Andreessen Horowitz core thinking that Mobile is the dominate ecosystem. Michael focused on technological breakthroughs over ecosystems to present the following case:
- The beginning of the technology revolution was search, where you can gain access to the information on the internet in a ways that were efficient and simple. Google dominated and changed the landscape and still holds a 70+% market share.
- Next was the advent of cloud storage. Where the need to build servers to store your programs and files would be disrupted by unfettered access from anywhere anytime, at a fraction of the cost of building and maintaining in-house systems. In fact, Michael contends that today it cost more money to delete files than to store them forever!
- The future is now focused on Analytics. As businesses today are able to track and store almost every data point, the question becomes how do you create value (knowledge) from all that information. Today, with Hadoop, you no longer have to move the data into your data warehouse or data lake to use it. Hadoop allow you to leverage a distributed data environment that connects disparate datasets seamlessly, reducing costs and maximizing data options.
The future is Analytics, and within that context I am suggesting that you ignore the ideas associated with “Big Data” and instead focus on “Your Data”. After all finding the key metrics that drive your business forward is the key to Analytics Utopia! This includes data collected within your systems on sales, demographic and behaviors along with third party/purchased data sets, government/industry data, and social/marketing data.
So when you have all this new data, how can you make it work for you? This is where the last great speaker comes in… Omer Atrun. Omer’s book on Predicative Marketing is a must read for all marketers as it gives play-by-play lessons and examples.
The main focus of the book is creating models that predict the optimal level of promotions to each customer cluster in order to maximize margins. He begins with a concept around lifetime value based marketing to effectively upsell customers in higher value segments and it flows into finding those higher value clusters for acquisition programs.
It is a whole new way to begin to look at businesses as you structure your operations around customer clusters instead of product lines. This creates a full customer centric business model.
Here is a link to the 100 questions you can ask of your data as you begin your journey towards predictive marketing.
Technology that killed the American Workforce
The reason we are seeing manufacturing make a comeback to the USA is that automation is offsetting the lower labor costs in Asia, Mexico and other low wage countries. But that is just the start of it. In the near future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics will begin to take over not just manufacturing jobs, but administrative and other service job, such as housekeeping in hotels, customer service representatives and even fast food workers.
The Huffington Post reports that over 5 million jobs will be lost by 2020 to Robotics. Some estimates go as high 2 billion jobs will disappear by 2030. While many new jobs will be created from new technologies, the displacement and disruption will be enormous.
The other more advance robot from Boston Dynamics is shown here in multiple demonstration on how it reacts to abuse in multiple settings, including a warehouse.
What these two example show is the technology available today is ready for prime time and as business adapts their processes to include AI and Robotics we will need to change the way people learn the needed skills of the future and how they will be interacting with new technologies at work, home and play.
It is time to identify how your organization can begin to integrate AI to support and innovate your business model. Even simple tools like IBM’s Watson API’s allow for seamless use of AI in your current work processes. Complex algorithms make things simple: like Decision Making support, Trade Off Analysis, even Personality Insights to derive insights from transactional and social media data to identify psychological traits which determine purchase decisions, intent and behavioral traits; all of which is utilized to improve conversion rates.