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Living on the road is like living in a city, albeit a very unusual one. When you spend enough time waking up in one country, and falling asleep in another - the boundaries blur. Different countries become like neighbourhoods, separate but strangely interconnected. You don’t have to be a gypsy, a spy or even just a frequent flyer addict like Ryan Bingham to be a global nomad. You just have to spend more than 100 days a year on the move. So if that’s you, you might find this list of ten survival tips useful.
This is not a blog post for everyone. There are no innovation or marketing secrets here. Just something very personal. I believe that there is a point when technology stops being a solution, and instead, becomes a question. Namely, how do you want to live? The tools of the 21st century may afford us the luxury of working anywhere, but how much of our work lives are deliberate decisions as opposed to accumulated accidents? If you started with a clean sheet of paper, how would you design your day? It’s harder than it sounds, and I also quickly learned that there were three things that stood in my way. I ended up calling them the three rules of freedom.
It’s easy to get seduced by the idea of Big Data. Data alone - well, that’s dull conversation fare. But throw in some hype, an adjective and a little capitalization, and you have this year’s big strategic topic. All that aside, there is one thing about this debate that makes it more important than the usual industry fad. Big Data is about Big Business, not just high tech startups. Traditional companies are hoping that by leveraging massive data sets and real time prediction models - that they can start making realtime decisions just like a Facebook, Google or an Amazon. Some will succeed, most will fail but either way chances are that sometime in the next twelve months you will be either asked to approve a big investment in this space, or have to sell one yourself to your board. And when that happens, will you know what to do?
By now, you have heard, read and seen more about the Cloud than you probably ever wanted. And, for those of you who live in corner offices - you are almost certainly wondering why everyone keeps bothering you with something that surely belongs in the dark realms of your IT department. But from Amazon's new self-serve super computing platforms, Google's low cost enterprise productivity tools to Apple's vision for online entertainment - the Cloud is a business revolution that no CEO can ignore. Here is your cheat sheet on the top 5 strategic issues that you need to know about.
Why do some companies survive and others simply crumple? And stranger still - for star-crossed giants such as Yahoo, RIM and HP - why did major investments in innovation not save them from being blindsided by the future? In my view - it is all a problem of scale. Big leaders favour big solutions for big problems. But just the like the Higgs Boson, sometimes in order to understand how dramatic transformations happen, you have to start by looking for things that are very small.
As you read this the world’s most dangerous symbol is only a few inches from your eyes. That small, blue thumbs-up icon may look harmless enough but not if it distracts you from the real game in town - arming your brand to tell better stories.
Getting a little help from your friends was easy enough for Lennon and McCartney, but in an age of Google Circles, Facebook lists and Twitter followers - it is far from clear what friendship actually means. Worse still, marketers are muddying the waters. Brands used to want to brainwash us - now they want to be our friends. But consider this for a moment. What if social marketing was not about getting your customers to like you on Facebook but rather fixing a much bigger problem? Namely, trust.
I don't like boats. I get sea sick easily and my worst nightmare is being caught out in the middle of the ocean in a storm. When that happens my original plans - however grand - go straight out the porthole. Business leaders face a similar dilemma. You can spend a weekend retreat discussing the far future, but on Monday the only scenario that counts is the immediate future of cash flow, customers and competitors. So how do you reconcile two distinct timelines which require radically different strategies for attainment? I call this paradox the 'Dual Horizon Problem'.
I once asked a well connected friend from the Valley what the stock rich digerati spent their billions on once they exhausted their penchant for Ferraris, Gulfstreams and obscene boats. ‘Secret labs’, he replied cryptically. ‘Now that they are richer than God, most of them are scared of actually meeting him. So many are busy funding scientists and private institutes to keep themselves alive for as long as possible.’ Eccentric, wealthy centenarians are one thing - but to me the real question is what happens when life extension moves from the realms of the super-rich to the masses. In other words, what impact will the economics of immortality have on the rest of us?
You can have too much of a good thing, especially if it wasn’t yours to start with. Here’s the perfect example - brands that shamelessly imitate the strategies of their major competitors. I was scouting the Westfield complex in Century City, LA last week and noticed a new Sony concept store a few feet from a classic Apple retail shrine. It was striking how similar both stores appeared, except for one crucial distinction - Sony was devoid of customers.
© 2013 Tomorrow Limited