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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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132. How to choose online courses & learn from them

career strategy Jan 04, 2023

At this time of year, many ambitious professionals sign up to education programmes to take their career to the next level. Here's a guide on how to choose the right course for you and make the most of it once you've signed up.

How to choose the right online course for you:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the instructor’s work and point of view
    • Invest your time and energy before you invest your money. If the instructor has a podcast, listen to it. If they have written articles, read them. 
  2. See who the instructor’s community of students is and see if they inspire you.
  3. Be aware of the pricing: if it seems too good to be true, it often is.
  4. Take courses that have case studies because we learn best from stories.

To get the most out of a course:

  1. Set aside a regular time in your week as your class time, as if you were going to a real university lecture.
  2. When you are taking the course, regularly ask yourself: what insight did I get from this?
    • By doing this, you take...
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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.


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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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129. To become a Digital Leader, join start-up advisory boards

Joining the advisory board of a promising tech start-up will teach you vital skills, build your network and transform your professional brand.

It is a great way to reshape your career, while still working in your current role.

Here is how to do it:

  1. Remember the difference between boards of directors and advisory boards. The former have fiduciary responsibility and the ability to hire / fire the CEO. The latter do not.
  2. Work out what the start-up needs and give it to them, before asking for an advisory board position. For example, if they need introductions to potential customers, make the introductions.
    • Have the conversation about formally joining the advisory board only after you have proven your value to a start-up founder.
  3. Be aware of the company’s stage: tech start-ups rarely need in depth financial analysis but do need introductions and help with operations. Don’t offer advice based on your experience. Offer advice based on the start-up needs.
  4. Do not view this as...
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126. How to become a Digital Leader as the tech sector shrinks

big tech career strategy Nov 23, 2022

As the tech sector lays off employees, there is still plenty of opportunity to be a Digital Leader. 

Playing the long game is making use of the opportunities you have in front of you today, while keeping your eye on the future. 

Here are three ways to become a digital leader today:

  • Work in the digital team of a traditional business:
    • Some traditional businesses also have innovative tech-like environments. E.g. Levi's has a Head of AI, L'Oreal works with data scientists to predict consumer trends and Tesco hired the same UX design team that worked for Google. 
    • Working in these teams can give you the same exposure and skill sets as working in Big Tech.
    • Word of warning: be careful of traditional businesses that have not yet invested in digital transformation or had success with digital teams. This often means that the leadership's mindset isn't up to date and they are unlikely to be good collaborators in the build-measure-learn approach needed in digital.
  • Work...
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124. What type of developer you need to make friends with

To lead in the Digital Age, you need a network of developer friends. They can help you understand the latest tech trends and decipher jargon.

But to build the right network, you need to act intentionally. Don’t just hunt down anybody who has ever taken a python course.

There are two types of developers: managers and specialists.

All developers start off as coders, but as they progress in their careers, they come to a fork in the road. Some decide to specialise deeper in a particular aspect of technology, whereas others go the management route.

Engineering managers lead teams of engineers, and rarely write code themselves.

In fact, a Chief Technology Officer is unlikely to have written any code for quite some time. Their task is to manage the team, and to work with non-technical teams to align technology strategy to business needs.

Engineers on the management route must take business courses to progress in their careers.

Just as the non-techies need to speak tech, the techies...

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123. To thrive in the Digital Age, change how people see you

career strategy Nov 02, 2022

To succeed in today’s economy, you simply have to speak tech. But, if nobody knows about your new digital skills, you won’t become a digital leader.

This is why, to go from traditional business manager to digital leader, you need to actively work on changing your professional image.

Here are three hacks to help you change perceptions today:


1) Update your LinkedIn profile

For senior level opportunities, candidates are not expected to apply – they need to be found. Executive recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, so make sure that your profile positions you for digital leadership.

This is also a must do for entrepreneurs and those not looking for their next job. Professional opportunities like new clients and employees come to us via LinkedIn, so make sure your profile portrays you as a digital leader.

The most important part of your LinkedIn profile is the tagline under your name. Put key words relevant to your experience and the digital roles you...

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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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