If you had been following my tweets, my irreverent Facebook posts, or my Foursquare check ins, you would have known that I was in Chicago last week. Normally when I go to Chicago, I like to see live music, and eat amazing food all while punctuating these events with a small amount of sleep. This time however, I was on a mission. No, not a mission from God, but a mission from Kitchen & Bath Design News.
The fine folks over at this publication have a conference every year called the Leaders Conference. They invite senior level execs and "decision makers" from all corners of the kitchen and bath industry to learn the state of the industry. We had economists and psychologists among the speakers. They also asked me to speak there. I was charged with presenting the topic "Profiting in the New Digital Age". The focus for me was to explain how our digital world is changing, and that the target customer for these companies was changing very rapidly.
In a nutshell, I had to do an hour long presentation on "being me". At first I thought this was going to be easy. I mean, I could just get up there and explain my digital life. But then I realized that I was being rather selfish, this "digital revolution" isn't about me, it's far, far bigger then that.
For this presentation to be convincing, I had to get everyone to take a huge step back and see the big picture. The digital revolution that we are in is way more about the latest smartphone, Google, or even the latest metal slab from Apple. I am not much of a history buff, but I know enough to understand that it often repeats itself. This got me thinking...
I started out my presentation with a look at the industrial revolution. This was a time of rapid development in technology and communication, something that I see going on today. Did you know that the first internet was actually a series of tubes? Well, everyone that saw my presentation knows now!
After covering a brief bit of history, I outlined some trends and behaviors that I see going on in todays society. One of these is folks that live their lives online as well as in the physical world. People today share so much of their lives online, something that ten years ago almost no one imagined would happen.
I also talked about the "Maker Instinct". Technology today allows people to build and create amazing things virtually and in the physical world. One example I used is a gadget that someone created that can solve a Rubik's Cube in 24 seconds. What I find amazing about this invention is not only what it does, but that it was created with a cheap cell phone and Legos. All stuff that you could pick up at the mall. The products used to make this amazing project were products that are "open sourced". In other words, the companies, in this case Lego and Google Android encouraged hackers to reverse engineer their product to solve unique problems.
Some other amazing changes in our world I talked about were "crowd sourcing". I outlined many examples of how companies can take part in the social aspect of the internet to get input on their products from many people really easily.
Of course I tied a lot of these concepts in with Sketchup. Sketchup has a robust API that allows people to add features to it. It has a social and crowd sourced aspect to it called the 3D Warehouse that allows people to create, collaborate and share models with anyone in the world. It is doing wonders for the design industry.
So in the end, this was a very interesting presentation to research and give. To me, what is even more amazing than all the geeky technology out there is a big shift in human behavior. If you understand that, you will understand how to "Profit in the New Digital Age" regardless if you can sync an iPod or not.
If you want to know more about this presentation, or would be interested in having me present for your company, please contact me here!