Patrick Schwerdtfeger has a startling vision of the future. He believes that the world as we know it is undergoing changes that will rapidly disrupt and change nearly everything we are used to. Technology is both (1) part of the problem and (2) part of the solution. AI and blockchain are facilitating decentralization and anarchy, but those changes create enormous opportunities for savvy businesses. Technology represents an existential threat to those who don’t embrace it, but also an unparalleled opportunity for those who do.
Schwerdtfeger sees our culture shifting away from centralized services toward one of exponential individual opportunity – where there are only providers and customers. No management. No administrators. No middle layers at all. Technology has given everyone tools that get smarter every time you make an error—and pass that knowledge along to the same tools other people are using around the world. The data is so vast and so cheap that the rate of innovation we see today will seem glacial by comparison.
“It’s not all bad,” he says. “Mankind also develops new skills that enable CEO’s and business leaders to survive and thrive in an increasingly disruptive world”.
His recently released book, Anarchy, Inc., Profiting in a Disruptive World with Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain offers predictions about the near future as well as critically important intelligence, and insights on how to not only embrace the coming changes but to get ready, get in synch, and stay on top as it happens.
Here is a sampling of some of his revelations and recommendations:
Look forward. Don’t allow yourself to live within an echo chamber, including only those opinions you already agree with. Actively seek out opinions that contradict your own. The truest measure of intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing views at the same time, so practice this. The world is becoming more decentralized, resulting in competing and vastly divergent realities. Nobody’s willing to change their mind, and everyone has plenty of evidence that they’re right and everyone else is wrong. This is a form of anarchy. Do it differently.
Look in the mirror. Success amidst anarchy requires defiant leadership! The most strategic thing you can do is fine-tune your unique value proposition. Open a document on your computer, or pull out a notebook and write down your thoughts to this: Who are you? What do you stand for? Since the world is characterized by competing realities, you have to pick your reality and ignore the rest. You can’t change people’s minds. Build your tribe and ignore the haters. The only thing that matters is your unique value proposition and how it differs from competing products or services.
Look up. Introduce more premium options for your VIP customers. Take your highest price and multiply it by 10. What ‘done-for-you’ solution could you sell at that 10x price? What would need to be included in order for that 10x price to be a great deal? Focus your marketing on that 10x solution. It will expand the ‘frame’ of your business. It projects confidence into the marketplace. What would an industry leader do? Now, act like an industry leader!
Look down. Be the disrupter, not the disrupted. Watch for simpler and less expensive solutions for your most cash-strapped customers. Disruptive innovation often caters to the least profitable market segment first, so identify those cash-strapped customers and imagine what they want. Innovations down there will create disruption everywhere else. Generally speaking, they want simpler and less expensive solutions. Can you create those solutions?
Look side to side. Change creates opportunity. Set aside a couple of hours and evaluate your marketplace. What are your competitors doing badly? What do people complain about in your industry? Who are the cash-strapped customers, and what do they want? Capitalize on opportunities to steel revenue from “adjacent markets.” Don’t ask: Who’s going to eat my lunch? Ask instead: Who else’s lunch can we eat? Anarchy is an opportunity for offense, not defense!
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