#ThinkPH: We are all CEOs now
MANILA, Philippines – The world is changing fast but despite this, what it takes to succeed in this brave new world has not changed: Who are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?
“We are budding more transistors every 0.1 seconds now than there are stars the galaxy,” noted the founder of innovation consultancy Intelligencr and futurist Paul Papadimitriou at Rappler’s #ThinkPH 2017 held last Saturday, July 15.
While technology has been with us from the beginning, the transistor was significant as it marked the outsourcing of our thinking towards technology. This laid the foundation for the connected world we know today.
A world wherein it took Skype only 10 years to garner 50% of international calls made all around the world, Papadimitriou said. Even faster than that, Messaging platform WhatsApp has overtaken traditional SMS in just 4 years.
To put that in context, it took a team of just 55 people to totally upend a global telecommunications system that had been in place since for than half a century.
As Papadimitriou put it, “Technology has basically created a world wherein everyone is now CEO,”
Things that only a very select group of people, CEOs mostly, enjoyed just a few years ago is now open to all, he explained.
“We have a feeling of mastery in our lives that none have ever had before going back every single generation. We know have everything on demand and tts spreading all over the world,” the futurist said.
All about speed
“Expertise, knowledge and a network – that's what a CEO has,” Papadimitriou said, noting “that all someone can build all these things himself. It's not always as easy and feasible but it's now its not impossible”.
Technology, after all, has given rise to the famous concept of disruption which thriving now more than ever.
It’s the speed of all these changes that is the key, according to Papadimitriou.
“We're addicted to speed, we don't want to go through steps. Its about getting stuff we want right now. Disruption is speed. The only thing that will make you win is because you're faster than old legacy firms that are slow,” he said.
Speed is even more crucial because the world is going to go through some profound shifts in the next few decades as markets led by China and India take over economic leadership from the West, spurred by emerging technology.
Papadimitriou noted that there 2.5 billion people entering the middle class in the next decade, creating a situation wherein suddenly a lot of people who have access to a lot of things will change the way people consume.
As an example, he noted that “a Chinese born today will consume 50x more than the previous generation. An unprecedented explosion in consumption.”
This, the futurist noted, is also happening against the backdrop of “the world about to enter the era of the biggest wealth transfer of mankind wherein some 17 trillion will exchange hands in the next 10 years”.
This will drive innovation on an unprecedented scale as people who grew up with the internet start to gain money and invest further in technology.
There will be cultural and demographic shifts as well, he added, headlined by almost one billion women joining the workforce and Nigeria’s population growing larger than that of the United States which will change the philosophy and DNA of a lot of countries.
The very ideas of a generation gap, cultural and national identity is fast becoming more fluid, he said, as the internet gives people with different interests the means to connect with each other, validate their common interests, and create new stateless tribes of sort.
In the midst of all this, what gives ambitious tech-adept young people the best chance of marking their mark in this world?
According to Papadimitriou, the key, as ever, is to focus on the human.
“The one thing that is important is that it's whatever you’re selling is user- centric. Every single firm that has succeeded at the market, from Facebook to Apple, did so because they thought about people first before technology,” he said.
“If you want to win the market, if you want to create something lasting, do something that makes our lives simpler and better,” he noted. "Who are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?"
Most, he noted, start with the last, not realizing that technology is only a means to an end. It should always be people first, he said.—Rappler.com
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