The question I most frequently ask myself is: what’s next? Whether that’s in business or in my own personal development I am perpetually in a state of discovery utilising my own foresight to project the forthcoming advances in technology or business and from their I seek to tailor my path to suit the expected variance. Projection of developments is often easier than you envision if you focus closely on historical precedent and listen to the winds of discontent. This involves focusing on the periphery of the mainstream, spotting the trends which will grow to disrupt and eventually overwhelm established markets. Snapchats meteoric rise demonstrated the proclivity of expected development. The emergence of disposable imaging predicated the development of a messaging equivalent which it implemented far later than would have initially been thought. This involved giving the users what they wanted meeting a growing demand. Snapchat messaging was predictable some 2 years before it came to market.
The question of what’s next is what ultimately led me to win the competition to act as Skyscanner CEO for the day; my ability to provide directional foresight of the trends, inclinations and requirements of users sought to enable the extraction of value from services or means that had not previously been considered.Invariably, directionally this is where advancement comes from: A pre-disposition of wanting to improve things for oneself. I have recently read James Watt’s autobiographical account of the development of BrewDog and how the idea of wanting to create great beer between two friends revolutionised, and in fact birthed a new, industry. This relentless quest to break the monotonous stranglehold of established brands is when innovation occurs.
What are the catalysts for change and advancement? Is it a changing cultural climate that informs the development or are there specific political motivations? Often it is a combination of both married to the passing of time and growing expectation. Often the jump appears to occur overnight but in hindsight it’s a simple step up the ladder you are left kicking yourself for missing out on. Technology can act as an impediment for most that may have an idea but are incapable of implementation. Delivering what’s next requires a knowledge of what technology enables and an idea of how it would be implemented. Without this, what comes next is incomprehensible, and it is with this in mind I felt it was a pre-requisite to teach myself how to code.
The question of what’s next also marries to potential. What’s next doesn’t hinge on what you have done before, It alludes to what you are capable of and you own self-perception. The ability to influence and spot what’s next is directly quantifiable to your own ability to learn. Knowing what’s next is never an epiphany. It may appear to be such but a life time of learning has went into leading to that one thought or action. There is a famous story involving Picasso. He was sketching in the park when a woman approached him. She begged him to sketch a portrait of her and he agreed. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait and handed the women his work of art. “It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?” Five thousand dollars was Picassos reply. “But, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!” To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.” This is the essence of judgement and genius.
What is next for business and technology then? The growth of the peer-to-peer economy will continue to entwine itself within the fabric of everyday commerce that much is certain. It will permeate every level of business mobilising armies of loyal users who are more in tune with their wants, needs and how they acquire value. Already it is no longer as simple as going to a store and buying what you want. The internet opens a world of opportunities which ensure fair value for everything and alternatives where value is not inherent.
Privacy is an enormous issue which sits at the forefront of my conscious directionally. The growing scandals of stolen data and stories of pirated images or information concern me hugely. This is the direction which my startup seeks to challenge and tackle. How can trust, safety and ownership be returned to the user? I have several iniatives I am currently developing which seek to provide answers to those huge problems posed by modern technology. I seek to readdress the balance of control, provide safety and intrinsically ensure trust. How will I do this? You will have to follow and see.