When Patterns are Broken New Worlds Emerge
How is technology changing the world we live in?
That's a very good question. Technology is changing patterns, and patterns, once they're changed they don't fall back together again. Tuli Kupferberg, the counterculturalist of the 1960s, once observed that when patterns are broken new worlds emerge. That's what we're seeing today, that you cannot have a value trap where you expect a reversion to historical relationships because by the time that happens those historical relationships don't exist.
It seems things are changing very rapidly, faster than any time in history. How does that impact the way we do things?
I read recently that it took 70 years to lay a landline telephone communication in Britain, 50 years in the United States, 30 years in Japan, and 20 years in South Korea, but it'll take only a year and a half to have mobile technology communication in any emerging market. This is causing an incredible disruption.
Big data and the fourth industrial revolution are changing how everything is done. When we look at the great companies of the last century, they standardized their product and then created brands and distribution, but today there is no standardization for you and I. It's all personalized. It's personalized because of the big data that's there. This means that there are things and they're all personally focused. If you think about finding a restaurant in a new city, it used to be that you would go to a chain because you knew what you were getting. Now you go to your phone and look at what's available. Patterns are changing. They'll never go back to where they were.
What has changed in the way companies are reaching the consumer?
Back in the 1970s, Jack Welch in the heyday of General Electric, said that they had to be first to market - they had to be number one or number two in every market they served. Now what we're seeing is there is not that advantage to being first to market. Sometimes it's better off being the last to market with all the data and all the information that's available to you. Everything is personalized today, and that's why our branding is so much different.
Opinions expressed are those of the speaker as of May 2019 and are subject to change, are not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results, nor investment advice.
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