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136. 2023 Prediction 4: Opportunities lie in the invention vs adaption gap

What kind of doorbell do you use? A buzzer? A door knocker or a Ring smart doorbell system?

Right now, you can see all three inventions in use: one that has been around for millennia, and another that was created just 20 years ago.

This shows the wide gap between tech invention and its wide-scale adaption. While the Ring doorbell system is now well known, some people still prefer to use a door knocker – a system that was developed before Biblical times.

This gap between a product or an idea existing, and its wide scale adaption, is where the biggest opportunities lie. 

Listen to this episode to learn how to capture them, as a corporate leader, founder or investor.

Apply for the 

Plan your year like a Digital Leader workshop

Live online: 5 February 2023, 11 am EST / 4 pm GMT

 

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135. 2023 Prediction 3: Digital Transformation gets a human face

Digital Transformation is going to continue being a huge force in business, but the way it’s being done is changing. People, not tech tools, are the new priority.

Listen to this episode to learn how to make the most of this opportunity.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Global digital transformation spending is forecast to reach $3.4 trillion by 2026, from around 1.6 trillion today, according to Statista,
    • This high growth means opportunity for corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and investors.
  • When companies first attempted digital transformation efforts, the emphasis was on implementing new tools.
    • These transformation efforts were usually led by the Chief Technology Officer or Chief Innovation Officer, with the rest of the organisation often able to ignore this change.
  • While some of these efforts were successful, a lot of money was wasted. McKinsey estimates that 70% of digital transformation programmes fail to meet their goals.
  • This is why, digital transformation efforts...
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131. Three shows to watch to learn about tech

If you’re feeling guilty about switching on yet another streaming series, here are three shows you can watch to learn about tech in your downtime:

  1. General Magic - tells the tale of how a great vision and an epic failure changed the lives of billions. It is a documentary about the people and the technologies that led to the creation of the iPhone.
  2. Silicon Valley by HBO – comedy series about a start-up called Pied Piper and its founding team. Painfully close to the chaotic reality of running a start-up. Fun and useful for those who want to start a tech venture or invest in one.
  3. How will businesses use the metaverse? YouTube documentary by The Economist. The documentary is one of the very few things that both question the hype around the metaverse, while also showing its promise.

The documentary features interviews with Matthew Ball, author of the excellent The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything.

 

Listen here on Apple Podcasts

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130. Lessons for Digital Leaders from the London Stock Exchange - Microsoft deal

This December, Microsoft (founded in 1975) took a 4% stake in the London Stock Exchange (founded in 1698). As part of this deal, the LSE will spend at least $2.8 billion on Microsoft’s cloud related services in the next 10 years.

Big Tech and finance have been getting closer and closer in recent years. The CME has a deal with Google, AWS has a deal with Nasdaq, and almost all banks and insurers now use big tech’s cloud services.

This is a sign of things to come for all industries, and carries lessons for Digital Leaders.

Lessons for Digital Leaders:

  • The senior management of the London Stock Exchange today has to have a different skill set to what it had 10 years ago, because digital technologies are now an integral part of the business.

    • The same logic either already applies or will soon apply to other industries. If you want to have a future proof career, you need to learn to Speak Tech and collaborate with your technical colleagues.
  • This is a case study...

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128. Business reality doesn’t match AI hype (yet)

There is plenty of hype about AI, but most organisations are still using old precesses to make decisions.

We are  in the Between Times: "after AI's clear promise and before its transformational impact," as described in the book Power and Prediction: the disruptive economics of Artificial Intelligence

In this episode, Professor Joshua Gans, one of the book's co-authors explains why organisations are not yet adapting the full power of AI and what will happen when they do.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Artificial Intelligence is a prediction machine, which supports decision making.
  • Today businesses often use AI for one or two processes, but most decisions are still made by humans. Technology first companies and start-ups often have more AI-based decision making, because they do not have to replace legacy processes.
  • Business leaders should not accept AI as just a black box. In fact, Professor Gans argues that business brains might be better...
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122. What's a Digital Mindset & how do you get one?

To be digitally savvy, follow the 30% rule – this is the minimum threshold that gives us just enough digital literacy to thrive in the tech age, says Professor Paul Leonardi.

  • “To have digital transformation in your company, you don’t need to know how to code, but you need to know enough about coding to be dangerous. This means being able to talk to the people in your organisation who are working with your codebase, so you can understand the opportunities and challenges of your platform,” says Professor Leonardi.
  • When you are getting a recommendation from a data scientist, it is only ever based on available data. Most data that are available are those that are easiest to get. We systematically bias those data and overlook metrics that may be just as valuable or more important to our decision making, but are excluded from the process because we never digitised or collected them,” advises Professor Leonardi.
    • Whenever looking at a report from a...
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119. Why smart leaders expect the unexpected from software updates

Software updates can have weird unintended consequences that the company doesn't even know about. Existing features that worked perfectly can stop working, leading to lost revenues and annoyed customers.

Listen to this episode to learn why this happens and how non-technical leaders deal with it when it does.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • A developer could write a line of code to affect one outcome, and there could be a completely different unintended outcome that they don’t even know about it.
    • When an app, site or algorithm gets complicated enough, these unintended consequences are more and more likely to happen.
  • To prevent this, make sure that different people test the new version on different devices and browsers.
    • In tech teams, this function is called Quality Assurance.
  • Remember that these unintended consequences are inevitable. The key is to catch them early and correct course.
    • Create a process for your users to quickly tell you if something goes...
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118. Four questions to link business goals to tech tools

Technology is a tool, not an end in itself. The quickest way to bridge the gap between tech and business teams is to relate business outcomes to technology. 

Learning notes from this episode:

  • In every company, you always have two sides: the people who make the product, and the people who sell the product.
    • The aim of both sides is to grow the business, but they solve the same problem using different expertise. (It’s like Oceans 11, but legal)
  • As a leader your job is not to know everything, but to set a vision and break it down into goals. You need to learn, but you also need to know when to stop.
    • This is how non-technical founders build tech ventures and how corporate executives transform traditional organisations into digital leaders.
  • One of the biggest reasons non-technical leaders struggle to collaborate with their technical counterparts is fear that they will not understand what the technologists are talking about.
    • To solve, this, you need to learn to ...
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117. Lessons from the Lean Start-Up by Eric Reis

"Successful entrepreneurs don't have better ideas, they have a better process," says Eric Reis in The Lean Start-Up. To learn how to innovate with speed, listen to this week's episode.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • A start-up is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty,” says Reis.
  • Do not to apply your corporate experience to start-ups.
    • Corporates have:
      • Departments
      • A known business model
      • A known problem
    • Start-ups have:
      • 3 people and a dog
      • No proven business model
      • A problem hypothesis
  • To test new ideas in conditions of extreme uncertainty, follow the Build-Measure-Learn cycle:

(Diagram from The Lean Start-Up)

  • This process is not only for tech products. Use it to invent new products and services, and if you get traction with existing tools, then consider investing in tech.
  • If you do not have a technical background, you will not know how to build a product so you could...
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112. The three stages of start-up teams

A tech start-up begins its life with a tiny team. The founders are either technical or tech savvy, but as the company scales its team has to change. 

Learn about the three stages of start-up team growth here.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • At stage 1, the start-up is focussed on building its first product and getting the first customers. The team is usually tiny, and each team member is either building the technology themselves or is very closely involved in the process. Everyone learns from each other on the job.
  • At stage 2, the start-up has raised Series A or Series B and is focussed on scaling. This is when specialists in non-technical fields start getting hired: HR experts, sales people etc. The gap between the techies and the non-techies widens, and this is where opportunities get lost.
  • At stage 3, the start-up is a late stage venture and is either preparing for a merger or an IPO. At this point, the original founder is very unlikely to be the CEO....
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