As I tried to put together a presentation for technology, economy, social changes that matter for us for the next 3 years, I found many wonderful articles and presentations are already done (see below). Although some of them are a bit out dated, they are still very relevant today. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the data presented, but a more important question to ask ourselves is how we can take advantage of these changes. We need specific achievable, present, actionable items; not abstract, high-level a-year-from now action items. Changes are too rapid for planning beyond a year. That’s exactly this blog is trying to address and I hope we’ll have many constructive discussions among us.
Before we jump into many specific discussions, let’s look at a few recent changes that matter to us:
1. Economy reset. While the global economy is recovering, the customer and business behaviors are resetting. People and Businesses are now more cost-conscious and resourceful. “Do more with less” is no longer just an interesting sound bite, but it’s becoming a lifestyle for a long time to come.
2. Globalization acceleration. As reported in many reputable newspapers, that many US graduates are coming home to their home countries because the lack of job opportunities in the US. And after years of unprecedented consumer saving, China has made efforts toward consumerism. On the top of that, more and more countries are now opening up to foreign investors and businesses. It’s possible and common now for startups, or small businesses to do business outside their home countries.
3. The rise of Social***. Yes, Facebook and Twitter are everywhere; and virtually all marketing guys conveniently label themselves as Social Media experts. Enterprise 2.0 promises many benefits for businesses, but not many adopters yet. Are these hypes or real? The data don’t lie, however, for those people who expect great and instant return on your investment, you’ll be disappointed. It takes a while to build your present and reap benefits in the social*** space.
4. Cloud Computing, if they build it, do we come? The promise of cloud computing is excellent. You can have reliable, virtually infinite, high-available computing and storage power. The cost-elasticity can be easily achieved, and business can shrink and grow without worrying too much about under or over utilize capacity. The cost is predictable, hence businesses can concentrate what they should do best – running their real business, instead of running IT. Only handful of companies in the world can provide massive cloud computing platforms, since it requires huge capital investment and high maintenance. Can they deliver their promises? It remains to be seen.
5. Mobile. Apple AppStore reaches 1 billion application downloads recently; 3.4 billion texts are sent everyday around the world; we reach 4 billion world-wide subscribers this year, and the market penetration is still less than 50% in Asia. While the statistics are staggering, only few companies make profits from this highly fragmented and confusing market. Many top-tier companies and phone carriers are looking for ways to come up with THE mobile platform, but at the same time, they worry about killing their cash cows.
6. Compressed time, compressed space. With constant stream of data, interruptions; more than ever people are looking for a ways to organize, filter data, and respond in timely manner. Brevity, concise, and core are important element in communication nowadays. Collaboration must be effective, even if it happens 12,000 mile away, or span across 3-4 time zones
7. Digital Life Convergence. In Asia and Europe, this life style is pretty obvious. There is virtually no line between personal and professional work. The line is getting blurrier by days in US too. Many people do personal chores at work (online shopping, planning a quick personal trip), and do work in their pajamas at home when the rest of family is asleep. Our life style is easily trending toward living in connected world 24/7.
8. Privacy and Transparency, do we have the right balance? Most pictures, videos, comments, messages that you post online are becoming easier and easier to search. While the information may be useful for others, but also for hackers. In addition, many of (potential) employers are start looking at your online behavior as well. Transparency is a new way to communicate to our customers, team members, and employees. Gone the days when customers have to go thru a red tape to get to talk the company executives. Companies must be easily accessible, or else they go somewhere else.
For the next 3 years, these changes which currently underway will present us with many challenges but also many opportunities. Ride the wave early, build awesome products, services, startups. Let’s talk. Labels: "Shift Happens", "Social Media", "Social Networking", cloud computing, Mobile