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The Chief Marketing Officer is Dead

The Chief Marketing Officer is Dead | Age of Personalization |

The CMO position is dying for four reasons:

1] Most CMOs are not really immersed in marketing activities. By this I mean understanding, creating and delivering value to the customer. Too many CMOs focus on PR and communications rather than products or pricing, so as not to invade the space of the Chief Innovation Officer or the CFO.

2] CFOs have become more powerful because of tough trading conditions and short-term pressure from financial markets. The CFO is also winning the race to the very top—most CEOs now have a finance or engineering background, and few come from sales and marketing.

3] Marketing impact is often hard to measure. Marketing is more art than science. It's hard to know whether all those millions of dollars spent have led to an increase in real sales. And when a downturn comes, the marketing budget is often the first to be cut.

4] Nobody has a clear idea of what marketing is. Ask 20 senior managers in any company what marketing is, and you’ll get 20 different answers. By contrast, most people would agree on a definition of finance or production.

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, CMOs can take the following practical steps to reclaim some of their lost power:

1] Get rid of the CMO title, because nobody understands it. Create the new title of CCO – Chief Customer Officer. This person must be the voice of the customer in the organization, taking views and messages from the market and spreading them internally. More and more companies have a CCO or a senior executive with a similar title, from to the Washington Post.

2] Get the CEO to be the CMO. Chief executives can drive the customer-centricity agenda better than anyone else, because they can shape a company's culture and drive the recruitment of customer-oriented people. Having the CEO as CMO also sends a strong message throughout the organization that the customer is front and center and that marketing is everybody's job.

3] Get the CFO on board too. Doing this requires taking some of the fuzziness out of marketing. CCOs need to be financially literate and produce hard numbers that show the return on investment from marketing.

4] Use customer knowledge to build influence. With backing from the big two in the C-suite, CCOs can use their customer knowledge to influence discussions of product design and pricing, and make a company's offerings more sensitive to the market.

Back in the 1950s, the management guru Peter Drucker wrote that a company has only two key functions – marketing and innovation – and that all other functions should support these. Sadly, paying attention to the customer is less and less common these days. The CCO can be the first step toward reversing this trend.

So – goodbye to the CMO, hello to the CCO.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Long live the CCO!

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Age of Personalization
Marketing leadership while we are shifting from an Age of Information to an Age of Personalization, providing personalized services to discerning customers, leveraging technology.
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Amazon and Google Are Battling to Dominate the Cloud -- and Amazon May Already Have Won -

Amazon and Google Are Battling to Dominate the Cloud -- and Amazon May Already Have Won - | Age of Personalization |
The future is Amazon, Google, Microsoft… and not much else

Whatever the endgame, it could take decades to reach. In the meantime, this is a fight that rewards scale. Size means efficiency, efficiency means lower prices, and smaller providers of cloud services are going to have a hard time competing.

And there’s a third big player: Microsoft. The company launched its own cloud service, Azure, in 2008. Though Azure is an also-ran for now, the company is so deeply entrenched in corporate IT culture that at least some companies are willing to wait for it to bring its cloud services to parity with Amazon’s. And like both its main rivals, Microsoft has the money to spend on the engineers and infrastructure required to make its cloud truly big.

"I do think the market [for cloud services] will support three big players,” says Mickos. “Google and Microsoft will build big businesses but can’t take the lead away from Amazon anytime soon."

That still leaves room for a gaggle of smaller companies providing other services, such as private clouds for companies that are nervous about keeping their data on someone else’s servers in an age of hacking and NSA surveillance. Companies that offer such services, like Rackspace and VMWare, as well as Mikos’s Eucalyptus, can offer these clients more control over their data—though there is evidence to suggest that private clouds are no more secure than the ones administered by Google and Amazon.

Either way, the upshot of all this competition is that computing has never been cheaper, and it will only become cheaper still. And as the internet penetrates every part of our lives, down to the everyday objects like toasters and cars that will someday soon be “smart” and connected, humanity is only going to need more cloud.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

The more the leaders battle it out, the cheaper, more available and more versatile the services will be for the rest of us

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IoE = Integration of Sensors + Big Data + Supply Chain

IoE = Integration of Sensors + Big Data + Supply Chain | Age of Personalization |

In an age of personalization, the internet of everything, with elements of sensors for data collection, big data analytics, sophisticated mobile and web applications, integrated with operational elements of customized delivery services will reign supreme. Yack, yack, yack . . . so what does this really mean for the business opportunities ahead? Here are our projections.

Sensors: Sensor technology and adoption have evolved to the point of having too many sensors, not enough standardization. Sensors range from throw-away, single-use models to MEMs and RFID solutions. They can be apps on mobile phones to gadgets that are wearable or not to sensors attached to and even inside our bodies. So what needs to be done to ensure that the sensor technology remains relevant?

1. Integrate the sensor hardware and reports so that it is integrated with applications and analytics.

2. Create sensors that collect only the relevant data for specific purposes, short-term and long-term.

3. Manage the sensor development project so that each individual sensor solution is cost effective and also customized to the needs of the user.

Big Data Applications: Yes, it’s about the data, we have oodles and oodles of it, coming out of our ears, detailing everything from our web search habits to buying and texting patterns, from time spent in a room to preferred heating temperatures, from average speed on freeways to average expenditure for each trip to preferred stores, in preferred months, at preferred times of day. And sensors of every style and flavor will continue to add more and more data to be managed, overseen, and acted upon. The future must include this data though, so here are some thoughts on what you need to do with the data you have, when delivering personalized solutions for your customers:

4. Filter out relevant data – know what data is relevant, when and why. Create customized reports on that relevant data, so that various stakeholders can monitor and act on it.

5. Integrate all data sources into a common structure so that you can create inter-relations between the data.

6. Recommend actions based on data profiles. Allow stakeholders to update and manage which data profiles should elicit which actions.

7. Let the data tell the story about your customers and where they are trending.

Supply Chain Optimization: Thank you Dell for revolutionizing the supply chain process, making it on-demand. Thank you Google and Amazon for raising the bar beyond that, and aggregating the delivery of products to the door so efficiently and conveniently. The challenge and opportunity in delivering personalized products to the door is that the services must be customized to the needs of the user – not just combinations of off-the-shelf items! So how do you deliver this in a cost-effective way?

8. Integrate sensor, application/big data information into the manufacturing and delivery process.

9. Partner with stakeholders across the value chain, making each partner accountable for the customization before the delivery.

10. Target highest need classes of customers first, for although each will get customizations, it would be easier to deliver customized solutions if you had higher volumes of need for specific types of customizations.

The bottom line is that sensors, big data applications and supply chain solutions will be essential elements of successful personalized solutions, but integrating each element cost-effectively while wowing the customers is the ultimate challenge and reward.

E-mail us at with your thoughts.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

How do you fit into this IoE space? What are *you* doing to make it real, from the demand side, or the delivery side?

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Finance Innovations

Finance Innovations | Age of Personalization |

The internet of everything solutions involve not just big data, but also at times the sensors for the collection of the data, as well as integration into supply chain solutions. This month, we are drilling down into specific examples of big data, mobile, cloud and sensor solutions which are facilitating the emergence of the Age of Personalization one industry at a time. The profiled companies and solutions are from “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Company in Finance” by Fast Company, and includes information from the company web sites themselves.  E-mail your input


  1. ONEID: Single, Secure Login

Passwords are gone, forms are completed in a click, and you’re straight to checkout.

For businesses, OneID makes it easy and secure for your customers to login, complete checkout, and approve transactions using their mobile phones. With OneID Suite, you get an integrated identity system, while OneID Confirm adjoins your existing username/password system with two-factor authentication tools.  With both, OneID helps protect you and your customer from today’s threats.


  1. Estimize: Crowdsourced Platform for Earnings Forecasting

Estimize is an open financial estimates platform which facilitates the aggregation of fundamental estimates from independent, buy-side, and sell-side analysts, along with those of private investors and students. By sourcing estimates from a diverse community of individuals, Estimize provides both a more accurate and more representative view of expectations compared to sell side only data sets which suffer from several severe biases.

  1. eToro: Follow and Copy the Investment Pros

eToro is the first global market place for people to trade currencies, commodities, indices and stocks online in a simple, transparent and more enjoyable way. Today, we empower over 2.75 million users in more than 140 countries worldwide (but not currently including the US) to manage their funds through our innovative online investment platforms and active trading community, with thousands of new accounts created every day.

Processing Volumes of Data

  1. Splunk: Real-Time Data to Improve Service

Splunk helps financial services clients leverage real-time data to improve service delivery and customer loyalty, enable timely payment processing and improve trade processing efficiency.

  1. Wells Fargo: $1 Billion Dollars in Deposits

Wells Fargo & Company is the first major U.S. bank to offer mobile services for corporate and commercial customers announced that businesses have made more than $1 billion in mobile deposits through its CEO Mobile® Depositservice. With the free CEO Mobile iPhone app, customers can use an iPhone or iPad to quickly scan and deposit checks and money orders conveniently and securely, enabling them to speed up their cash flow.


  1. BitCoin: Person-to-Person MicroPayments, but not as secure and accepted as PayPal

Bitcoin is an open-source peer-to-peer payment system which doesn’t involve central authority or banks to manage transactions. When you use Bitcoins to purchase something you are directly exchanging it with the merchant.

At the moment, Bitcoin is used as a payment system by a lot of online shopping, gambling, web hosting websites as well as a few local stores and coffee shops in some countries.

  1. GiveDirectly: Charitable Donations Delivered Through SMS to Needy in Kenya and Uganda

Based on performance to date we expect to put 90% of your donation into the hands of a recipient in Kenya and 87% in Uganda.

Mobile Innovation

  1. Nice Systems’ Mobile Reach: Mobile Alerts and Phone Calls Anticipating Your Cash Flow Needs

NICE Mobile Reach analyzes, in real time, a multitude of data sources from the mobile device and enterprise systems and then recommends for the customer the most suitable channel to continue the interaction when they need assistance. As the customer and agent converse over the phone, multimedia collaboration tools such as text chat, image exchange, and document transfer will be available for both parties, making the interaction effective, increasing conversion rate, and driving quick and complete resolution on first contact.

Minimize Processing Fees

  1. Dwolla: Virtual Charge Card for 25 cents a Transaction

Dwolla is a payment network that allows any business or person to send, request and accept money. We’re not like those other big payment companies that rely on plastic cards and charge hefty fees. Instead, we’ve built our own network that securely connects to your bank account and allows you to move money for just $0.25 per transaction, or free for transactions $10 or less.

10. Transferwise: Foreign-Exchange for 0.5% of Transaction

Sending money abroad is deceptively expensive, thanks to the hidden fees we’ve all been forced to pay. Now TransferWise lets expats, foreign students and businesses transfer money wherever it’s needed, at the lowest possible cost. No hidden fees, no headache.

How does our list compare to your own? Who would you add or take out?  E-mail us at with your thoughts.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

How many of these finance innovations have you tried? Which ones seem a bit frightening? Which ones are transforming the way we do business, empowering the customer?

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Top 10 Tech Predictions for 2015

Top 10 Tech Predictions for 2015 | Age of Personalization |

My top 10 technology trends lists cover trends that I think will be important over the next three years or so. As 2014 is now well underway, it’s time to focus on what’s around the corner so we are ready for massive change and newfound complexity.

  1. Data Intensive Applications Will Rule Wireless IP 
    As I predicted a decade ago, IP will eat everything. And I was right. But now, for my next prediction: Wireless data applications will eat IP in less than three years. The size and magnitude of this change is impossible to imagine, but the implications for service providers will hit like a tsunami in 2015.
  2. Mobile Data Congestion is Already a Reality
    Service providers must start to off-load to other wireless technologies like WiFi immediately. They also need to create space for new applications like those used in advanced technologies like robotic surgical operation. Data off-loading, like WiFi itself, is an immediate need for all service providers worldwide.
  3. Applications Must be the Center
    Networks must be redesigned so that applications are the center of the universe. Networks must adapt and adjust traffic needs of the application such as latency, jitter and packet loss absorption to provide spontaneous and ubiquitous coverage across the world.
  4. Data Traffic is Rising 
    By 2015, 91 percent of internet traffic will be video, including HD and 3D video. The current internet is not designed for these needs. We have to design networks, and applications such as CDN, to be able to handle the load effectively and efficiently. Additionally, management of traffic at data centers poses another major challenge for service providers. Data center traffic will exceed five zetabytes in 2015 and 76 percent of that data will stay inside the data center. This demands brand new architectures, much different than the models developed with Layer 4-7 switch in the last decade. In addition, 50 percent of video is for downstream mobile traffic and Over-The-Top (OTT) players like Netflix who make their revenue on the backs of companies like ATT, Verizon and others. These OTT players will command 35 percent of US peak downstream traffic.
  5. Rising Data, Declining Revenue
    This trend, already visible, will continue — and accelerate — in 2014 and 2015. Today data revenue and traffic are disassociated in a data-dominant world. Revenues are beginning to plateau so CXOs must be ready to help CEOs create innovative ways to take revenue away from OTT players starting now.
  6. Cloud Computing Will Plateau
    Cloud computing implementation will plateau by 2015. Technologies such as quantum computing will take their place at the center of our universe for decades to come, and the traditional Moore’s law computing model will be replaced. 

    For example, in 1940, computers processed one CPS (cycle per second) every 150 seconds. As computing has improved, we moved up to common PCs like the IBM PS/2, which ran at 250 CPS. When the Cray computer was needed for massive processing, it had only 86 million CPS. By 2015, early quantum computers will handle 38 TCPS, and we will be able to see to the edge of the universe with massive computing at 14B light years away with computers that can handle 8.6 Quadrillion CPS. Computing will finally surpass Moore’s law.

    For you techies: Quadrillion means 10 to the power of 15 CPS performed every second. This number, which blows people’s minds, has profound implications for cloud and other technology. Services will develop that are so massive it is hard to even imagine them. If they are not careful, quantum computing will create real headaches for service providers by 2015.
  7. Knowledge Mining Rules!
    Knowledge mining will replace all data mining and information mining; this will have a huge impact on data retention and compression across the entire enterprise.
  8. The Advent of LTE-A
    LTE-A will finally become reality, with peak speeds of up to 1 Gbps+; LTE-A will compete with FTTH technologies.
  9. New Radio Developments
    New Wireless RAN technologies will use cognitive radios; small sites and femto cells will be history like other technologies.
  10. New Technologies to watch for in 2015:

- Thumb Print Scanners

- Large Mobile Storage like SATA in smart phones

- Fuel cells with battery life exceeding 3-10 days on a single charge

- 3-D printing

- IPv6

- 100 Mbps broadband speed for consumers

- Autonomic computing

- Quantum computing in all types of verticals such as security, surgery and mainly, robotics

- 50 billion end points including RFIF- and GPS-based devices

- 10:1 ratio of wireless devices to wire line

- Speech-to-speech translation in real time will finally become a reality with technologies such as quantum computing

- Implantation of “nano computers,” quantum computers which are one hundredth the size of current PCs and one thousandth the weight of the smallest Laptop and PC in the world

- Green technology will finally become real and affordable for consumers and businesses to use, which will lower oil dependency and create jobs beyond what we have ever seen in the past 100 years

- Wearable Networks: networks that, in case of failure, return to their original state with no manual intervention

- Intelligent optical chip will finally become reality. Light can be stored on a chip which will allow massive amounts of optical processing

One final note: The years between 2020-25 will be dominated by machines. Consumers and businesses will live in a robotic world — a scenario eerily reminiscent of the Terminator franchise.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

The top 10 trends around data and mobile and cloud make sense . . . the what's next predictions make my head spin - so much, so fast! Will we recognize the world we are creating today?

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Se7en Deadly Sins Blog Post Series

Se7en Deadly Sins Blog Post Series | Age of Personalization |
  1. Myopia: The sin of only seeing what’s right in front of you
  2. Hypocrisy: The sin of failing to practice what you preach
  3. Sloth: The sin of being too lazy to commit time and resources to great communication
  4. Detachment: The sin of being disconnected and distanced from your team
  5. Materialism: The sin of finding more value in counting short-term deliverables than in achieving long term goals
  6. Presumption:  The sin of assuming that everyone shares your perspective and understanding
  7. Irrelevance:  The sin of failing to provide meaningful context for project and company goals
Linda Holroyd's insight:

Which communications sins haunt you?

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Why No Company Can Ignore China

Why No Company Can Ignore China | Age of Personalization |

No country has a monopoly on virtue and in the U.S., where we are justifiably proud of our history of free elections and an untrammelled press, we often fail to appreciate the enormous challenges and accomplishments of China. Chinese political and business leaders are among the first to recognize the scale of their dilemma: 800 million people still living in poverty; complete dependence on imported oil; profound water shortages; a demographic time bomb that will haunt the country in coming years; sprawling state-controlled companies; pollution levels that are a threat to its citizenry (though it’s rarely ever mentioned that New Delhi has far worse pollution than Beijing); corruption in higher places and a hidebound educational system considered way too rigid.

All this makes China’s achievements almost incomprehensible – particularly for people who have never visited the country. No country has ever achieved what the Chinese have been able to do since Deng Xiaoping helped his country emerge from decades of barbarity. In less than three decades around 400M Chinese have entered the middle class and China, or at least its metropolitan areas, have gone from two wheels to four wheels in less than a generation. (In 2000 auto sales in China were 2M. Last year they were 22M – dwarfing the 15.6M sold in the U.S.). Thousands of miles of highways and railways have been built. Dozens of brand new runways have been rolled out. Hundred of millions of square feet of factory capacity have treated the rest of the world to lower prices. And now China’s technology industry is growing stronger by the week. Three of the ten most valuable Internet companies in the world are now Chinese.

LinkedIn’s decision to extend its “economic graph” to China will help bring people closer and eventually make tens of millions of people more productive and successful. The more we talk, confer, collaborate and work together the better we will understand each other. This will extend from the mundane (the Chinese are perplexed, for example, by our habit of drinking iced-water even when we have stomach aches, or calling our bosses by their first names) to deep and broad collaboration between individuals, organizations and countries. We will soon be each other's largest trading partners and the ties furnished by education, science, the arts and commerce should help the peoples of both countries appreciate the others’ finer points. While much about China is flawed, just as the U.S. seems flawed through a Chinese lens, rising prosperity and closer ties are a boon. Today, no company can pretend to serve the world and do good unless it embraces China.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Data-based thoughts on biz opps in China

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Will Doctors Finally Accept Technology? Yes. Here's How. - Techonomy

Will Doctors Finally Accept Technology? Yes. Here's How. - Techonomy | Age of Personalization |

In 1968, the American health economist Victor R. Fuchs wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine: “Medical tradition emphasizes giving the best care that is technically possible; the only legitimate and explicitly recognized constraint is the state of the art.” Nearly half a century later his words still ring true.

But the medical profession is often slow to adopt the state of the art. Witness the industry’s slow uptake of innovations such as telemedicine and electronic medical records. The 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act created financial incentives and penalties to encourage health care providers to implement electronic records by 2015. Still, providers are lagging. According to a Health Affairs article, as of August 2013, only 40 percent of physicians had even a basic electronic health record system in place.

I’m often asked for advice on how to get physicians and hospitals to adopt new technology. In my nearly 20 years as an emergency physician, I’ve had numerous opportunities to evaluate the latest and greatest medical devices, diagnostics, drugs, IT, and, most recently, apps. I’ve observed that, while it is not easy to alter physician behavior, the most successful companies address four core issues: Need, Money, Quality, and Service.


The issue of need is simple—at least in theory. If you’re developing  medical technology, be a “must have,” not a “nice to have.” Talk to everyone in the ecosystem and understand the problems that absolutely need to be solved and present your solution as a no-brainer.

I once met the founder of a company who had created a simple, non-invasive method of analyzing heart rate variability as a surrogate to measure the autonomic nervous system. The device was FDA approved and already had existing codes for insurance reimbursement. But among the pain and endocrinology specialists I spoke to, there was not consensus that the device was so valuable that it would be a “must have.”


To be successful in the current economic climate, any new device or technology must demonstrate cost savings to the healthcare system. A cheaper product that replaces the current standard isn’t enough. It must contribute to indirect savings as well, such as by shortening hospital stays, enabling outpatient disease management, or personalizing therapy for a better outcome.

Vendors of new products for the healthcare industry must also understand and leverage money flow. Products are more readily adopted when existing reimbursement codes can be applied or they enable providers to treat specific conditions that they couldn’t previously treat.

For instance, GI Dynamics disrupted bariatric surgery with its EndoBarrier therapy, approved for use in in Europe and Australia, which enables endoscopic placement and eventual removal of a novel gastrointestinal sleeve. The field of bariatric surgery, which had been dominated by complex invasive surgeries that could only be performed by specialists, was suddenly open to gastroenterologists who could now enter a large, new market with a reversible procedure.


Successful products focus first on improving the safety and quality of patient care. Design solutions for the good of the patient first, and then for the benefit of the caregiver. If a device doesn’t improve upon safety and quality it’s hard to justify adopting it. But remember that quality is about more than just health; it incorporates cost, operations, and service.

Consider what the company InTouch Health has done to develop the telemedicine market with its remote robotic consultations:  The company’s platform, installed in over 1,000 hospitals globally, allows the delivery of timely, specialized neurological evaluations to remote locations, enhancing the quality of care for stroke patients who are candidates for acute interventions. Specialists see InTouch Health as an opportunity to brand their institutions as centers of excellence, large hospitals easily see the benefits of building relations with small hospitals by sponsoring the technology, and small hospitals see telemedicine as way to offer better care to their patients and community.


Ignore stakeholders at your peril. Understand the workflow of physicians, nurses, hospitals, and patients in detail. Then identify the most simple, friction-free insertion point for the key decision-maker and find a way to get in there. People and processes in healthcare systems are intertwined: A physician might order a test, but it is the nurses who carry it out. If the nurses find that the sample prep is too cumbersome or that maintaining reagents in refrigerated environments is not feasible, then the test may be doomed to fail. Consider the tremendous value that point-of-care tests such as the rapid strep test, urine dipstick test, and even the urine pregnancy test have provided to doctors, nurses, and patients. All were inserted seamlessly into the physician’s practice, did not pose any significant burden on staff, and provided satisfaction to the patient.

Getting physicians to adopt new technology is not easy. But as in any industry, success in medicine hinges on understanding your customers’ needs, how they will use the product, and if they will tell their peers that they simply must have it.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Yes, doctors seem to be gradually embracing technology

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Web 3.0 Leaders

Web 3.0 Leaders | Age of Personalization |

Last month, we talked about the evolution of the web, and discussed ten dimensions of how the web evolved, from the technology evolution to the role of marketing, all facets leading to the empowerment of and delivery-of-service-to the customer. This month, we are profiling ten leading companies who are taking leadership roles in the evolution of the web.

1. Amazon: From Aggregated Deliveries of Everything      

Amazon is leading the way, delivering goods to the door, leveraging the web, cloud, IT, morphing from an online bookstore to the selling of everything, expanding and addressing the needs of the customer, and the many devices they use, all delivered to their door. Sophisticated tools and algorithms track what you’ve ordered and predict what may be of interest to you as well and efficient operational processes and deep and broad relationships with a range of manufacturers and distributors assist in the aggregated delivery of products on-demand. Look for the growth of AmazonFresh for same-day deliveries, and even a partnership with USPS for Sunday deliveries.

2. Apple: Sensors and Devices   

The ‘What’s Next’ question has hung over Apple since the passing of business icon Steve Jobs, but there’s no denying that Apple products are flying off the shelves – most recently the 5s and 5c, with 9 million sold in the first weekend. Congrats also on the new light iPad design, the ultra-loyal Mac following, the proliferation of apps, etc., May I suggest that the ‘What’s Next’ question might be related to the fingerprint sensor in the 5s. What are the implications for innovations in mobile sensors?

3. Cisco: The Internet of Everything        

Cisco facilitated the growth of the internet with its hardware and software offerings – from broadband internet to routers to security, sensors and software solutions. They leading the Internet of Everything efforts, connecting the data, people and processes for a more connected world. Cisco will continue to facilitate the age when physical sensors and the data they generate will help people and things better evaluate and manage resources and make data-based decisions, real-time.

4. eBay: Connecting Buyers and Sellers, Optimizing Deliveries to the Door 

eBay’s network of buyers and sellers and its processes for creating trusted connections quickly between them have made them a force to be reckoned with. The focus on local shopping and on one-hour deliveries through the eBay Now program make them a leader in the delivery-of- b-to-c, c-to-c products to-the-door.

5. General Electric: The Industrial Internet    

Known for decades to businesses as an energy, power and water company and to consumers as a lighting, appliance and home improvement company, watch what they will do, pushing the Industrial Internet – the Boundaries of Minds and Machines. See how they will support clients like railroads and airlines to proactively manage malfunctions, and how they will support our healthcare needs through devices and the cloud and our pure water needs through tech-driven filters.

6. Google: From Search to Video, Communities to Devices

“From its beginnings as a search engine and even following its incredible adoption and expansion, nobody projected. It’s impressive how Google is weeding out things-that-don’t work, and making video solutions like YouTube outstanding and easy to use. Indeed Google is proactively managing the volumes of data so that they are relevant to the user, and to niche groups of users. Couple this with their solutions delivered to the door, to the home, and the device innovations from Google Glass to Chrome Dongle and they are a force to be reckoned with.”

7. IBM: Big Data Evangelist, Real-World Problem-Solver   

IBM evangelism for cities and universities also showcase its sophisticated problem-solving abilities leveraging data storage and analytics to solve real-world problems. See examples of what IBM is doing for French city Lyon to improve traffic flow, and follow what IBM is doing to introduce big data curriculum into universities. There are huge consulting contracts around big data to be had, and IBM will be in the think of it.

8. Microsoft: Embracing SaaS and Mobile 

Give Microsoft credit for bringing personal computers and software to the masses, and for continuing to grow and expand through the evolution of the web. It also takes courage to expand into devices and phones and applications sold online, rather than shrink-wrapped. Look for Microsoft to continue to find its way as it works with partners to usher in Web 3.0.

9. Netflix: Beyond Streaming Movies, to Custom Content

Breaking the mode first with its mail-in movies on DVD, then its migration to streaming movies and shows on demand, and now custom content creation, Netflix has consistently led the way with a grand vision and exceptional execution. We have every confidence that Netflix will continue to efficiently deliver customized, quality content to an ever-demanding and widening user base.

10. Yahoo: the Future of Content

Started as a search engine like Google, Yahoo grew like wildfire, and then had an identity crisis. I see it finding its way – making the world’s daily habits (whether it’s games or groups or movies or news or weather) both inspiring and entertaining. So don’t discuss Yahoo, still (barely) a Fortune 500 company with revenues at around 5 billion. In fact, I see it as a platform for customized content, delivered to individuals and niche groups, a core Web 3.0 capability.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

How does our list of Web 3.0 leaders compare to your own? Who would you add or take out?  E-mail us at with your thoughts?

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Will Healthcare Clear the Engagement Hurdle?

Will Healthcare Clear the Engagement Hurdle? | Age of Personalization |
Healthcare organizations are putting many of the pieces in place to move from a system of “sickcare” to healthcare and, in doing so, are applying technology to overcome many hurdles.  IT won’t address all the needs required for healthcare transformation – culture change within provider organizations and by patients, for [...]

The only hope for patient portals is to have the sector morph into what Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst Nancy Fabozzi has described as “Patient Portal 2.0” – integration platforms that become the basis for bringing together the following:

  • An individual’s medical information from all relevant clinical sources (not a single provider, or even a single EMR platform)
  • A platform to search and access content from a variety of trusted sources as individuals seek health information
  • Engaging and interactive content that is customized to that person based on age, gender, etc.
  • Social networking interactions that support patient-to-patient connections
  • Gaming and mobile health applications
  • Avatars and digital health coaches that motivate and influence patients, leveraging personalized characters
  • Individual outreach and communication tools based on individualized preferences for communication media
  • Leveraging intelligent tools that can adapt, learn and support analytics, identify patterns, etc.
  • Support self service functions, including dynamic scheduling, prescription refills, etc.
  • Accessibility via a mobile device
Linda Holroyd's insight:

Here's to the success of Patient Portal 2.0!

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Big Data: The Mega-Trend That Will Impact All Our Lives

Big Data: The Mega-Trend That Will Impact All Our Lives | Age of Personalization |

There are some things that are so big that they have implications for everyone's life, whether we want it or not. And Big Data is one of those mega trends that will impact everyone in one way or another. The name (which by the way I don't like) might sound a bit techie or boring but believe me, it is not. With this post I want to explain what's behind this mega buzzword and outline why it will impact everyone.

The basic idea behind the phrase 'Big Data' is that everything we do in our lives is (or will soon) leave a digital trace (or data), which we (and others) can use and analyze. The advances in capturing and analyzing big data allow us to decode human DNA in minutes, find cures for cancer, accurately predict human behavior, foil terrorist attacks, pinpoint marketing efforts, prevent diseases and so much more. And like most things, it can be used for good or evil, but more on that later.

Basically, big data refers to our ability to collect and analyze the vast amounts of data we are now generating in the world. The ability to harness the ever-expanding amounts of data is completely transforming our ability to understand the world and everything within it. You might ask: So what is new here? Haven’t companies and organizations captured and analyzed data for a long time? Yes, but there are two things that are changing at the moment and are making the phenomenon of ‘big data’ real:

  • The rate at which we are generating new data is frightening - I call this the ‘datafication’ of our world.
  • Our ability to analyze large and complex forms of data has been transformed in recent years.

The Complete Datafication of Our World

All activities (human or otherwise) will soon leave a digital trace (which can be a scary thought):

  • We increasingly leave digital records of our conversations: Emails are stored in corporate systems, our social media up-dates are filed and phone conversations are digitalized and stored.
  • More and more of our activities are digitally recorded: Most things we do in our digitalized world leave a data trail. For example, our bowser logs what we are searching for and what websites we visit, websites log how we click through them, as well as what and when we buy, share or like something. When we read digital books or listen to digital music the devices will collect (and share) data on what we are reading and listening to and how often we do so. And when we make payments using credit or payment cards the transactions are logged.
  • Most photos and videos are now digitally captured and stored. Just think of the millions of hours of CCTV footage captured every day. In addition, we take more videos on our smart 
phones and digital cameras leading to around 100 hours of videos being up-loaded to YouTube every minute and something like 200,000 photos added to Facebook every 60 seconds.
  • We generate data using the ever-growing amounts of smart devices and sensors: Our smart phones track the location of where we are and how fast we are moving, there are sensors in our oceans to track temperatures and currents, there are sensors in our cars that monitor our driving, there are sensors on packaging and pallets that track goods as they are shipped along supply chains. Smart watches, Google Glass and pedometers collect data. For example I wear an Up band that tells me how many steps I have taken, the calories I have burnt each day as well as how well I have slept each night, etc. Many devices are now internet-enabled so that they self-generate and share data. Smart TVs and set-top-boxes, for example, are able to track what you are watching, for how long and even detect how many people sit in front of the TV.

I am sure you are getting the point. The volume of data is growing at a freighting rate. Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt brings it to a point: “From the dawn of civilization until 2003, humankind generated five exabytes of data. Now we produce five exabytes every two days…and the pace is accelerating.”

So yes, we are generating unimaginable amounts of data. The other thing that has changed is that are now able to analyse more complex types of data such as digital phone records of conversations, video and photo images and conversation. In the world of ‘Big Data’ we talk about the 4 Vs that characterize big data:

  • Volume – the vast amounts of data generated every second
  • Velocity – the speed at which new data is generated and moves around (credit card fraud detection is a good example where millions of transactions are checked for unusual patterns in almost real time)
  • Variety – the increasingly different types of data (from financial data to social media feeds, from photos to sensor data, from video capture to voice recordings)
  • Veracity – the messiness of the data (just think of Twitter posts with hash tags, abbreviations, typos and colloquial speech)

So, we have a lot more data than ever before, in more complex formats, that are often fast moving and of varying quality – why would that change the world? The difference is that we now have tools that allow us to analyze vast amounts of data by breaking the task of processing very large data sets down into smaller tasks that are run in parallel using a large cluster of computers. Here are some real-life examples of how big data is used today:

  • The FBI is combining data from social media, CCTV cameras, phone calls and texts to track down criminals and predict the next terrorist attack.
  • Supermarkets are combining their loyalty card data with social media information to detect and leverage changing buying patterns. For example, it is easy for retailers to predict that a woman is pregnant simply based on the changing buying patterns. This allows them to target pregnant women with promotions for baby related goods.
  • Facebook is using face recognition tools to compare the photos you have up-loaded with those of others to find potential friends of yours (see my post on how Facebook is exploiting your private information using big data tools).
  • Politicians are using social media analytics to determine where they have to campaign the hardest to win the next election.
  • Video analytics and sensor data of Baseball or Football games is used to improve performance of players and teams. For example, you can now buy a baseball with over 200 sensors in it that will give you detailed feedback on how to improve your game.
  • Artists like Lady Gaga are using data of our listening preferences and sequences to determine the most popular playlist for her live gigs.
  • Google’s self-driving car is analyzing a gigantic amount of data from sensor and cameras in real time to stay on the road safely.
  • The GPS information on where our phone is and how fast it is moving is now used to provide live traffic up-dates.
  • Companies are using sentiment analysis of Facebook and Twitter posts to determine and predict sales volume and brand equity.
  • A hospital unit that looks after premature and sick babies is generating a live steam of every heartbeat. It then analyses the data to identify patterns. Based on the analysis the system can now detect infections 24hrs before the baby would show any visible symptoms, which allows early intervention and treatment.

Final Thought

Finally, no discussion about Big Data could be complete without mentioning the increasing concerns about privacy. Many concerns have been expressed about how retailers, credit card companies, search engine providers and mail or social media companies use our private information. However, the privacy concerns around big data started to explode with the revelations by Edward Snowden on how the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) collects and analyses big data including the phone records and social media activities of millions of Americans. But because this is another massive issue in its own right I will address this in a future post.

As always, please let me know your thoughts on the topic. Do you find it frightening or exciting? Do you see business opportunities or ‘Big Brother’?

Linda Holroyd's insight:

This article makes me think about the 4 Vs around big data:

  • Volume  
  • Velocity 
  • Variety  
  • Veracity  
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5 Attributes to Look for in High-Performing Employees

5 Attributes to Look for in High-Performing Employees | Age of Personalization |

Here are five key attributes that CircleUp looks for in candidates, in no order:

Horsepower: I’ll take intelligence over experience any day of the week. Job descriptions alone can intimidate a lot of people -- particularly younger people, who often feel that they lack the experience that the job description suggests they will need. That’s unfortunate, because I’ve found that most of the time intelligence trumps experience. An intelligent candidate can quickly learn a job and frequently ends up doing it better than someone (less intelligent) who has been doing a similar job elsewhere. Experience is certainly valuable, but brains are the horsepower that drives the business.

Ownership and pride: "Run the mile you are in." This is a distance-running mantra from Runner's World Editor-in-Chief David Willey that I think applies to many aspects of our personal and professional lives. No matter your current job or where you are in your career, are you focused and engaged and do you take ownership? Do you have pride in what you are doing? Do you have pride in your colleagues and your company? “Run the mile you are in” applies not only to distance running; it applies to life, and it applies to how you will succeed -- or not -- as a teammate in business.

Work ethic: What we are doing -- redefining the private equity investing model and bringing fresh capital to consumer goods startups -- requires both smart and hard work. We achieved strong growth in 2013, our first full year in business, because our team works very hard. It’s more than that, really. It’s teamwork that is self initiated. The valued employee is not only the one willing to work hard; she is the employee who searches out ways to contribute most. She should have a work history of having demonstrated not only a willingness to contribute, but a desire to lead, come up with ideas on her own and to grasp fully the feeling of pride in his or her accomplishments.

Integrity: This is an attribute that is not always easy to flesh out. But it is too important to gloss over in the interview process. I try to gauge integrity by asking interviewees for examples of difficult decisions they have had to make or ethical dilemmas they've faced. I'm looking for candid responses as to how they handled these situations. What was their decision-making process?

Teamwork: This is my version of the ‘no jerks’ rule. So much of what we do involves collaboration that we must have team players across our business. It is good for business results and our corporate culture. I’ve met nice people who just weren’t effective teammates, but I haven’t met a lot of great team players who were jerks. This is what Reed Hastings, in his manifesto Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility, calls selflessness. I want people who are ego-less and put the interests of the company above their own and are eager to share information and help their co-workers.

Read more:

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Horsepower, pride, work ethic, integrity, teamwork . . . back to good old-fashioned values!

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There Has Never Been a Better Time for CIOs to Fix IT's Reputation | Vala Afshar

There Has Never Been a Better Time for CIOs to Fix IT's Reputation | Vala Afshar | Age of Personalization |

8 Ways for IT to Fix Its Reputation:

1. Focus on cloud wherever possible - Kail feels that IT should be focused on the goals of the core business and at Netflix that means providing entertainment, not procuring hardware and network infrastructure and storage systems when these services are readily available and more agile delivered through SaaS or public cloud. IT needs to look at things differently and ask how they can leverage other resources to bring a different perspective to their organizations. Kail focuses on cloud wherever possible using either best-of-breed SaaS apps or doing their own custom app development and deploying on public cloud. His goal for 2014 is to have 100 percent of corporate IT in the public cloud.

2. Hire talented people that think differently - At a company where there is a126-page culture deck -- hailed as Silicon Valley's most important document ever - there is an equal (if not greater) value placed on the cultural fit vs. the technical fit when it comes to recruiting new talent. In the hiring process, Netflix sets the context of culture early on and the deck contains the guiding principles for how all employees should operate every day. The two traits that Kail wants his employees to have are intellectual curiosity and continuous involvement. "While cloud computing is not a huge shift in thinking, you need to having people that want to think differently about infrastructure and architecture to figure out how to secure something or handle resiliency and latency when you don't have full control over something," says Kail.

Netflix is a very dynamic organization where people are not just doing one thing all day. This gives employees the opportunity to continuously expand their skill sets and look at different and new technologies, something Kail calls "Enterprise IT 3.0". Because Kail has tried to organize his team to contain no silos, employees can work cross-functionally so they are continuously evolving their skills. This means that as they move to being 100 percent cloud-based the make-up of the IT team will not change.

3. IT's charter is to improve business efficiency -- When moving to cloud or any new technology, setting context for everyone about why you are doing it is the key to success says Kail. Do this early on and have a good clear plan that stems from looking at how to improve business efficiency in conjunction with moving to cloud. The last thing you want to do is to forklift existing apps and put in cloud just to do it. IT needs to look at all the business processes and take a fresh look at different areas, such as the financial system, that people don't always think about. Things have changed and old systems may not be as efficient as they used to be. According to Kail: "IT's charter should be to improve business efficiency and move the business forward rather than being trying to 'protect employees' or prohibit them from doing something."

4. Support "UAD" (Use Any Device) -- Kail says that instead of the acronym "BYOD," we should be using "UAD" (Use Any Device). People expect the same experience wherever they are and for IT to support a bunch of different apps to help them get their job done. Everything is mobile these days, in fact Kail doesn't have an office at Netflix but instead operates wherever he is via various mobile devices. "People should be able to use best device to get the job done, and IT should support it in a secure manner with great access to apps and data," says Kail.

5. Try to remove friction wherever possible -- Removing friction is a great opportunity for IT. At Netflix, IT created one login for all SaaS apps to tie everything together in one place. This eliminates the need for employees to have a different password for every app they use and allows them to experience the same secure log-in from any device. In this way IT has served the business by ensuring an optimal user experience from anywhere so that all the business-critical apps are with them everywhere.

Of course IT is challenged to balance providing a really flexible environment with being secure and knowing what's going on. Kail said security is always something that is there in the back of his mind -- it's an integral part of everything they do.

6. Communicate deep context for change -- When thinking about how to introduce change and innovation, you have to understand the variable switching costs in technology and then address them head-on with the employee base. Netflix switched from Exchange on-premise to Google Apps last year and in doing so, Kail wrote a long Google doc memo which explained why they were deploying the new technology.

"When you deploy new technology, you need to communicate to end users otherwise they get frustrated," says Kail, who thinks poor communication and lack of explanation and support for new technology are the root causes of shadow IT. IT needs to understand the needs of the business in near future or employees will go find their own apps that they understand and that helps them get their job done.

7. Embrace "shadow IT" -- According to CIO Insight shadow IT's footprint is growing rampantly and recommends "don't block popular SaaS apps that help employees get their jobs done." Kail, who is of the mindset of Kim Stevenson andKristin Russell when it comes to shadow IT, couldn't agree more. He feels that people should use the apps they need to get their job done and if there is a big need for certain apps then IT should provide access, not block it. He sees shadow IT as an opportunity for IT understand what the user needs are and how they can improve the service they deliver and support them better.

8. Partner with line-of-business -- With a lot of talk about technology thought leadership shifting away from IT and moving into the hands of the CMO or CDO, CIOs should try to put themselves out of their comfort zone and learn something new and see how they can help out. Kail says there are a lot of opportunities for CIOs to try to understand the vast marketing landscape and figure out how to partner with the CMO and provide solutions to them, but it will involve getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Kail's parting advice for CIOs who want to fix the reputation of IT: "Do what you think is right and take ownership for it. Execute and if something is not working don't try to force it, but rapidly change the course. Be self-aware and business-aware."

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Great advice for IT leaders from  Mike Kail, CIO of Netflix

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Training Future Cybercrime Fighters to Protect Your Thermostat | Justmeans

Training Future Cybercrime Fighters to Protect Your Thermostat | Justmeans | Age of Personalization |
As we saw at CES this year, the "Internet of Things" is here to stay. With more and more platforms, social networks and search engines monitoring our actions and mining our data, questions around how we manage the ownership and distribution of this data are rising. We only have to look at the targeted ads in our Facebook feed or even consider Google's recent purchase of Nest, a home hardware tech startup, to see that personal data is already a hot commodity. So how do we deal with the challenge of data privacy? And not just the current threats that are out there, how do we prepare for the data breaches we can't even fathom yet? When we look at the rapidly changing world of data privacy and compare that to the skills gap that currently exists with our students (American students ranked 32 in the world in mathematics and 22nd in science), there is a possibility the future could leave us vulnerable. This is why we in the tech space and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focused industries need to continue to place a strong emphasis on investing in STEM education.

The idea of data security and data privacy is continuously expanding and changing. As Bloomberg pointed out in their coverage of the hacker economy, consumers can no longer limit their concerns to someone stealing their credit card. Cybercriminals are continuously looking for ways to benefit from hacking into people's personal data as its value grows, which is why an understanding of data management is so important. We need our next generation to not only think about data protection but how to manage the sharing of data, so we can continue to enjoy and embrace this connected world. Very simply, we must arm people with the right tools to build and protect this complex connected world of tomorrow. Combatting the declining numbers of STEM students and increasing the presence of women and minorities in the tech field is an important first step.

Attracting and engaging students from a wide range of backgrounds is essential to ensure we have the creativity and innovation needed to manage data connectivity in the future. One way to do that is to increase access to STEM resources or increase funding for STEM education. For example, at Symantec our education grantsprogram provides funds to non-profit organizations around the globe to help children and adults build their literacy in science and technology. GirlStart and the National Girls Collaborative Project are also great examples of programs focused not only on creating access to STEM studies, but increasing the number of women in these fields.

Yes, our increasing connectivity to the Internet of Things brings new levels of data exposure, and there are risks to having so many devices connected to the Internet. But it also creates an opportunity. The goal should not be to hinder the connected world but enable future generations to thrive on the information it creates.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

"The focus is to enable future generations to thrive on the information it creates"

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Neura gets $2M to bring AI to the internet of things

Neura gets $2M to bring AI to the internet of things | Age of Personalization |

With more than 26 billion (or more) connected devices anticipated by 2020, there’s a big question about how those devices will talk to one another. But the scientists behind Neura, a startup that has offices in both California and Israel, are less worried about how devices will talk to each other and much more concerned with how humans will interact with them. It’s not like people want to spend hours tweaking their dozens of devices just to make them work.

Neura, which was founded in January of last year, thinks it has a solution to this problem in the form of a technology stack for the internet of things. The company has raised $2 million in seed funding led by venture capital firm Greenhouse Capital Partners, alongside SingTel Innov8 Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, TriplePoint Ventures, and several angel investors. That funding is in addition to a $300,000 pre-seed round. While I might quibble with Neura CEO Gilad Meiri about his definition of a seed round, I like his thinking on the technology stack he’s promoting.

Neura’s goal is audacious: to make the internet of things all-inclusive and anticipatory. To do this, Neura has three layers of technology starting with data normalization. It calls this layer Harmony, and the idea is to essentially build device profiles and make the data each device gathers fit into a specific profile.

So while there are dozens of fitness tracking options on the market, the Harmony layer attempts to take each of them and figure out what information is relevant and then grab that data and turn it into a potential subscription. So it might be the number of footsteps from an activity monitor or the time spent asleep. For heart rate or glucose monitors, it will track down whatever the relevant metrics are, and then store it in a common format.

The next layer is a rules engine that will let the user or Neura partner set conditional rules (like if this, then that) today, but will eventually evolve into a pattern recognition engine that will then suggest rules to the end user based on their habits, devices and even connections. Neura calls this Trac.

On top of that is what Neura calls the physical graph, which is a pretty common terminology among folks developing products for the internet of things, but for Neura actually means a database of contextual elements that will influence and inform the rules engine. Meiri expects that your devices will share information about what they are connected to, who you’re connected to based on proximity (for example a Nike Fuelband that is constantly sleeping next to another person’s Jawbone every night implies that the people are married or at least in a close relationship) where someone is, and what services to offer based on all that information.

Neura’s core technology is set, but saying you want to be the connective tissue for the internet of things and actually getting there is another matters. Neura’s CEO has decided to focus first on building out the database and profiles for the health and wellness market, focusing on a few partners who will implement the Neura technology and include it as part of an app or service offering.

Currently the Neura team has added profiles for about 80 apps, which can take anywhere from an hour to three days to add, said Meiri. However, he expects that once Neura has profiles for more than 300 services, then the burden of integration will fall on the partner wishing to join the platform as opposed to the Neura team.

As ideas go, I like the way Neura is thinking about the problem and can’t wait to see what the end results look like. Meiri was very clear that for now the rules engine is conditional as opposed to anticipatory, but in discussing how the platform could publish notifications, such as my step count or my location and turn that data coming from a connected device into an insight worth taking action over, I got a hint of how we might tie the connected world together.

If Neura can make that reality — or anyone else for that matter — it would be a huge step forward.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Love how Neura will first identify the relevance of the data, then allow users to define rules, and then folding in the context. Standardization on data formats and application is a necessary foundation for moving IoE forward.

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The Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the Coming "Resource Revolution"

The Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the Coming "Resource Revolution" | Age of Personalization |

...the combination of finite resources and exploding demand for raw materials and finished goods isn’t a recipe for disaster. Instead, they see it as “the biggest business opportunity in a century.” Dealing with resource scarcity will compel companies to adopt new technologies, new manufacturing processes, and new management practices -- all of which will drive innovation faster and faster.

As the global middle class expands, there will massive opportunities for entrepreneurs to create more efficient industries and more productive business ecosystems. Technologies and industries will collide in new and unexpected ways, and these entrepreneurial mash-ups, inspired in part by scarcity, will potentially produce greater utility and prosperity for society at large.

Take, for example, the car industry. Its production processes have been refined over a century of increasing consumer adoption and global competition. Its elaborate ecosystem of dealerships, service stations, roads, highways, parking lots, and fast-food joints with drive-thru windows is so robust and pervasive that driving in America feels as natural as breathing.

And yet for all its culture-shaping success, the entrenched car industry is wildly inefficient – and not just in terms of the 14 miles per gallon a Chevy Camaro gets. Even the most fuel-efficient cars aren’t driving machines as much as they’re parking machines. The average car is on the road only 4 percent of the time. And in that hour or so each day it’s in motion, it does a horrible job of leveraging the energy it requires to operate.

According to physicist and environmentalist Amory Lovins, almost all the energy in a car’s gas tank is either lost to heat dissipation, tire wear, idling, and powering accessory systems like air conditioning, or used to move the massive weight of the car itself – less that 1 percent of that energy is actually used to move the vehicle’s operator. On a similar note, roads reach peak throughput only about 5 percent of the time.

In recent years, however, resource scarcity and the new approaches it inspires has brought innovation to the car industry from entities with expertise in electric batteries, consumer electronics, and information technologies rather than combustion engines.

Tesla and Toyota are building cars that use high-torque, low-waste electric motors. Zipcar, Uber, and similar services make car- and ride-sharing as convenient and reliable as car-owning – thus turning more and more cars into driving machines rather than parking machines. Driverless technologies, pioneered by Google and now pursued by virtually every major car manufacturer and various other institutions (such as universities), will be ready for public adoption as early as 2017. The driving efficiencies that such technologies enable will eventually give every 4-lane highway the throughput of a 32-lane highway.

Tomorrow’s cars won’t just use natural resources more efficiently than today’s do. They’ll also make automobility cheaper, accessible to a wider range of users, more convenient, and faster. Thanks to driverless technologies and the car-sharing services they’ll enable, blind people and old people will be able to transport themselves without assistance. Circling for parking will go the way of dial-up modems. And millions of suburban garages, no longer needed to store two or three lightly used late-model sedans, will be leasable through Airbnb and other sharing platforms as office space for millions of new start-ups!

Ultimately, using raw materials, water, and energy more efficiently – and thus boosting resource productivity – means using them more intelligently. And that’s where networks and platforms come into play. Over the last decade, through platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, we’ve gotten very good at sharing information about people and organizations, and creating real-time and increasingly granular maps – or graphs – of relationships, networks, information flows, etc.

Where we need even more innovation is in the realm of the so-called Internet of Things – i.e., objects and products that are connected to the web and potentially to each other. Because it is through greater and greater degrees of network intelligence that we can achieve the efficiencies that can boost resource productivity. For example, Tesla knows more about how its customers use its products than most car manufacturers, because Tesla cars send information back to the company about when, where, and how they’re being used (if owners consent to this functionality). In turn, such knowledge can help the company determine what improvements it can make to optimize future usage.

At Greylock, my colleague Josh Elman led an investment in a company called SmartThingsthat is developing a “physical graph” of the world through a platform that makes it easy to connect various household products to the web. Increasingly, we’ll be able to leverage the collective intelligence that a million connected refrigerators or thermostats can generate to seriously reduce energy loads (in addition to making everything more convenient and fun to use). In this environment, the opportunities for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinking are endless.

Which is not to say that boosting resource productivity to meet the demands of the world’s rapidly expanding middle class will be easy. As Matt and Stefan suggest in their book, it will take long-range thinking and the right inputs from governments as well. Nor will every company out there embrace this challenge. But companies that proactively look for ways to deploy resources more intelligently can certainly help mitigate the strains that will come as the world’s middle class more than doubles in size over the next fifteen years.

Indeed, if we really want to stave off peak oil, peak water, and other instances of potential resource depletion, then we need to keep pushing closer and closer toward peak network.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Here's to the opportunities in front of us in the 'Resource Revolution'

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Even though we have witnessed a number of helpful innovations in recent years (i.e. mobile banking apps, QR-code based peer-to-peer payments, digital advisors, gamified savings accounts etc.),  I think it is fair to say that banks and insurance companies are not the most innovative organisations around. Despite this, change is in the air and there are signs that the finance industry is finally beginning to realise the importance of innovation – but it is also clear that there is a long road ahead if banking is to catch up with other sectors such as I.T and Healthcare.

Our suggestion: Move innovation beyond the castle, into the sandbox!

Financial innovator Kosta Peric speaks about how the core business of a well-established organisation can be seen as a fortified castle – high, strong walls: everything is set in place to defend the existing business model and sources of income. It can stand a hit and is built for resilience. And today, most banks believe they are innovating by changing the looks of their castles, the shape of their towers and the location of their windows. However, this is optimising, not innovating. Moving simple transactions or even complex advice from a physical channel to a digital channel is plain and simple optimisation. The castle is important and needs to be safeguarded. Let’s be clear about that. But it is not the best place for innovation as heavy procedures, planning and governance lurk around every corner.

True innovation and creativity blossoms in a very different environment ­– one where creatively playing around, experimenting and failing are part of the game and do not affect the castle: this place is called “the sandbox”. Only when organisations create a culture for their people to experiment with new ideas, away from the existing business, will true innovation emerge. Where the castle is built for resilience, the sandbox is characterised by flexibility and openness. Both castle and sandbox are important and both are needed. Yet many financial services organisations still live in the castle age.

Based on a screening of hundreds of financial services innovation projects in (2010-2013), we categorized projects as being scientific discoveries, creative combinations or asset optimisations.The majority of the projects were classified as asset optimisations: refurbishing the castle. Over the years we do see a small shift towards more creative combinations yet asset optimisationprojects still dominate financial services innovation projects. Shifting transactions (payments, consulting your accounts) from the branch to online or mobile channels is an asset optimisation. You make it more efficient and the client likes it, even demands it. And yes, banks need to do this. Yet, the competition can and will copy this very quickly. They have very similar castles and will defend them. In their seminal book “Blue Ocean Strategy”, Kim and Mauborgne call this competing in a Red Ocean – an existing market space where the well-known players compete fiercely – putting profits and possible growth under heavy pressure. Banks, operate in an overcrowded, aggressive Red Ocean industry. But asset optimisation will not help them to remedy this.  Blue Oceans are what they call uncontested, newly created markets where you don’t have this cutthroat competition.  Shifting transactions to mobile is what we call defending the castle in a Red Ocean environment. It will always be important for banks to defend the castle; however they should also move beyond this.

A good example is the Australian Commonwealth bank which uses augmented reality in their property app – this is not an asset optimisation but acreative combination. They built a financial ecosystem by teaming up with the real estate sector and offer clients fast and easy access to real-estate data when they are in front of the house (price of the house, sales history, auction data, suburb profile, demographics of the environment, etc.), enriched with their own client data (can you afford this house, number of repayments, interest rate they can offer, etc.). The reason they did this is because they understood very well that buying a house is an emotional decision. Either you fall in love with it or you don’t. And when you do, the bank is there, at the moment of truth, to help make that dream come true. Much like car dealers are able to offer car loans at that emotional moment when a client decides to buy a car.

Commonwealth bank tries to change the customer journey, reducing the number of “mortgage shoppers”; trying to lock-out competition by keeping the client close to the bank. This fits with ecosystem-thinking as they team up with the real estate sector to do this i.e. seeing a bank no longer as a product factory and a sales channel but as a platform, a financial hub. Much like Google is dominating the “search” ecosystem, Facebook the “sharing” ecosystem, Amazon the “buy” ecosystem or the Telco’s the “connect me” ecosystem, banks should strive to be at the core of the “financial choices” ecosystem. To do this they will need to spend more time in the sandbox, experimenting with creative combinations, looking for Blue Oceans.

In conclusion, there is still some work for bank before we can call them truly innovative organisations. Their journey towards innovation has clearly started. They are slowly starting to move up the innovation learning curve. Going from an innovation portfolio mainly consisting of asset optimisation projects to one more dominated by creative combinations. Moving from innovation focussed on protecting the castle in a Red Ocean environment to innovation focussed on exploring the sandbox to create a Blue Ocean market space. This will be their journey: from the Red Castle to the Blue Sandbox. Because to move to the centre of the “financial choices” ecosystem, banks will have to move beyond pure technology innovation to value innovation: where technology innovation is aligned with utility, price and cost. Or put differently, where they use technology to enrich their own corporate DNA to bring true value to the customer.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

how could companies in the financial industry focus on creating a 'Blue Sandbox' when they spend so much time defending the 'Red Castle'

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How the Internet of Everything Will Shape the Next 25 Years of Internet History

How the Internet of Everything Will Shape the Next 25 Years of Internet History | Age of Personalization |

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, an important milestone as we look at how far we’ve come and how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is shaping our future.

Developed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a researcher at CERN, the Web was borne from the need to keep track of complex, large-scale projects without the loss of important information. We’ve come a long ways since March 1989, when Berners-Lee published his idea of “linked information systems.”

Today, IoE is driving connections beyond just data. The convergence of connecting people, things, data and processes is transforming organizations, industries and our lives. The growth of mobility and cloud computing is further driving innovation and an increase in the number and kinds of connections.

To illustrate this transformation, let’s take a quick look at life just two decades ago. According to a new national survey to mark the 25 anniversary of the Web, Pew Research revealed that in 1995, 42 percent of U.S. adults had never heard of the Internet and an additional 21 percent were vague on the concept—they knew it had something to do with computers and that was about it. In addition, 20 years ago, only 14 percent had access to the Internet.

Life today looks dramatically different than it did in the mid-1990s. The World Wide Web has transformed into an Internet of Everything world, where virtually everything is or will be connected to the Internet. From smart cars to Internet-enabled eyeglasses and even trees that tweet, the IoE is not only connecting the unconnected, it is driving unprecedented value from these connections.

Today we celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest innovations in the history of mankind, but the future looks just as transformational. Here are just a few ways the Internet of Everything will evolve in the next 25 years:

IoE will contribute to a rise in economic opportunity. We estimate that the Internet of Everything is a $19 trillion global opportunity over the next decade. This number is sure to increase dramatically over the next quarter of a century as more organizations and governments deploy Internet-enabled technology across various industries.

The Internet of Everything will be more personal and predictive. As more connected people, things, data and processes collide, the Internet of Everything will drive the growth of what Gartner describes as “personal worlds.” With the help of mobility and cloud technology, the Internet of Everything will merge the physical world and the virtual world to create a highly personalized and often predictive connected experience.

The Internet of Everything will drive an intersection of technology and humanity.The idea for the Web began as a way to better share complex information and the future of the Internet will expound on this idea. The Internet of Everything will be driven by increased connectedness that puts powerful information at our fingertips. This capability will have tremendous impact on our world. Over the next 25 years, the Internet of Everything will help us scale and manage our precious resources and ultimately improve our quality of life. How we shape this transformation is up to us.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

The Internet of Everything will provide: more economic opportunity, more personal and predictive, *and* drive the intersection of technology and humanity

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We Have A New Gold Rush – Don’t Miss It!

We Have A New Gold Rush – Don’t Miss It! | Age of Personalization |

Whereas most companies are drowning in data, while thirsting for insights, an increasing number are effectively leveraging the data assets that are erupting from wells all over the world. We have firmly entered a world in which data is a key driver of success.

In fact, data is the new gold and analytics tools are the new gold pans that help us find the golden nuggets.

Those companies that can turn data into valuable insights are the ones that will thrive. The others that continue to scratch the surface of data and analytics will be left behind. And those that ignore data will wither away.

Companies have more data than ever before entering their systems. Due to an increasing digitization of our work place, data is recording our conversations (e.g. emails), our behaviors (e.g. access cards and sensors), and many other elements for work. Within most medium to large enterprises the amount of data being exchanged and stored on a daily basis is almost incalculable: as too is its potential value. In addition, the world around them is generating vast repositories of data. We call this phenomena ‘Big Data’ and I have put together some slides to explain what big data means and how it is used today to add real value:

While in the past only large companies with big IT budgets and technology infrastructure were able to collect and analyze data, today anyone can. Even the smallest companies are now able to access and analyze data using public and cloud-based solutions. There are so many new ways companies can find and analyze data, either for free or at very low costs, using software as a service (SAAS) solutions which basically ‘rent out’ data analytics capabilities. This, to some extent, democratizes data and data analytics.

I find that most businesses are overwhelmed by the amount of data they already have, let alone all the data they could potentially use. Big data makes it harder to find the relevant information nuggets that help you make better decisions. In a defeatist move, many companies end up simply hoarding as much data as possible with the hope that one day they might be able to use it, or ignoring the big data and analytics movement altogether.

Despite the buzz about big data and fact-based decision-making, a look at the working practices of most organizations and their managers confirms that the “gold prospector” analogy is more true today than it ever was. The fact that companies hoard data, in the mistaken belief that simply having the data available is in and of itself value adding, actually destroys value. It floods individual decision-makers with a tsunami of data, reports, dashboards and databases and leaves it to them to pan for those golden nuggets. It simply gives them more dirt and silt to pan through and buries the gold deeper into the ground.

In the end it is not data, but the relevant data that is the core material required for forming those “golden nuggets” of insights that enable the enterprise leaders to make better decisions. The challenge for most leaders today is to find those “golden nuggets” that are hidden in the massive downpour of the data stream. The way to do this is to take a step back and think about the real information needs you have. Start with you strategic objectives and define the 10 most important, unanswered questions in your business. Then think about the data you might be able to use to help you answer those critical business questions.

Focus on the few things that matter the most, rather than getting overwhelmed by big data. Stop collecting, analyzing and reporting all the data you can and instead, focus on a small amount of really critical insights. A CEO of one of the world’s largest retailers recently told his data team to stop building the biggest database in the world and instead create the smallest database that helps the company to answer their most important questions. That’s a great way to approach big data and will stop people drowning with their gold pans, while thirsting for the golden nuggets of insights.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

data is the new gold and analytics tools are the new gold pans . . . but in the end, it is not data, but the relevant data that is the core material required for forming those “golden nuggets” of insights that enable the enterprise leaders to make better decisions.

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VC industry data shows growth but no bubble

VC industry data shows growth but no bubble | Age of Personalization |

Recently I’ve been hearing a lot that there is a new bubble in Silicon Valley. People are worried that it will burst and we will feel the effects over here. They generally cite one off events like Snapchat turning down a $3bn acquisition or Google’s $3.2bn acquisition of Nest as evidence. This sort of debate seems to come round every year or two and my view today is that there are localised incidents of frothy behaviour but nothing widespread enough that we should call it a bubble.

The data CBInsights just published on the volume of venture investment bears this out. Transaction values and volumes are rising, but not at bubble rate

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Here's to more growth, less bubble!

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Who Floats to the Top

Who Floats to the Top | Age of Personalization |

There’s a war for talent developing . . . if our budgets can only accommodate the best-performing, highest-potential staff, whom do you keep and whom must you release? As the way-we-do-work changes and as tech evolutions challenge and stimulate all of us, who will keep up and lead the way? As the work becomes more specialized and more valued, the role of the multi-tasking generalist also becomes important – how can you have it both ways?

The answer is in attracting and retaining and growing the highest potential talent you can. Below are some thoughts on ‘Who Floats to the Top’, as you evaluate and consider the A players for your team.

Character Traits

1. Integrity – It’s about doing the right thing, regardless of whether someone is looking, regardless of whether anyone would ever know, regardless of whether there’s a consequence. An integrity breach is the greatest cause of concern for any leader, for the trust connection will be broken and difficult to heal. With that said, people have different standards of what it means to do the right thing, and flexibility about what’s right and wrong might be called for.

2. Passion – Showing energy and passion around projects and people is an essential element of leadership. Nobody wants someone complacent on their team, but remember that passion may display itself as an Energizer Bunny or as a quiet storm, depending on personality and communication style. Leaders need to have the judgment to know if the bunny will spin in a productive direction or just around in circles, and whether the storm is proactively focused, or just unnecessary drama.

3. Self-Awareness – Knowing yourself for all your strengths and weaknesses, knowing your values and desires and motivations is essential for success. High-potentials are well grounded in who they are and what their value-add is, but they are also open to how they can be better at who they are and what they do! On the one extreme are those who are *too* open to feedback and input and criticism, and on the other hand are those who are closed-minded and want to only do things in ways which have worked in the past. Again, the challenge is to manage others and yourself so that you and they can find that middle ground.

4. Entrepreneurial – An entrepreneurial person is always looking for a product, service, process or solution that would help better solve a problem at hand. Having the curiosity, flexibility and open-mindedness to always ask questions and entertain other-ways-of-doing-things is generally an asset for most teams. The only caution is to include the perspectives of those consistently out-there, beyond the realm of practicality, to the point of being non-productive themselves and distracting to others.

Track Record

5. Measurable accomplishments – There’s no substitute for results, and everyone knows who’s delivering on them. But not everyone is good at communicating what their role was and what the tangible outcomes were for the team. And the opposite is also true: some people are really good at taking credit for work they did not have much participation in. Helping the good people communicate what they’ve done and tackle projects that would build themselves and their team and company would serve all well. Calling out the others would also help sift out who floats to the top.

6. Working across teams and roles and companies – Embracing the perspectives of those-who-think-and-act-differently than you facilitates collaboration and more balanced, integrated solutions. Commanding the respect and support of a wide range of stakeholders is a testament to the capabilities of leaders.

7. Credentialed training – Sometimes that’s necessary, and sometimes not so much, provided you have the foundational knowledge you need to succeed. I believe in programs which are 20% about knowledge and information and 80% about applying it into a real-life setting. When someone itemizes a long list of tech credentials for example, I would ask specific questions about how each were applied and what business results were generated.


8. Focus on Measurable Results – In business, it’s about doing the right thing and showing the measurable results that align with corporate goals and serve the customer. Promising leaders continually focus on delivering and communicating those measurable results, and continually adjust, based on the needs of the individual stakeholders.

9. Team Player – Nobody wants to work with a self-centered jerk, no matter how brilliant they are. Sometimes these jerks can be charming for short periods, but then they show their true colors. Don’t spend time trying to train them and integrate them, no matter what they are achieving for the team in the short term. In the long term, if they don’t speak and act like team players, there’s no room for them on the bus. Period.

10. Politically Astute – What I’m noticed about people who are good at what they do is that they are both politically astute, and in some measure, politically adverse. They get that where there are people, there will be politics, but they don’t want to play games for the sake of the game, especially when things get personal and sneaky.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

These are our thoughts on Who Floats to the Top – the same kinds of traits that have always been important, and more so in today’s business environment. What did we miss? What shouldn’t be there? 

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The Re-imagination of Healthcare

The Re-imagination of Healthcare | Age of Personalization |

Today the healthcare industry is facing a tsunami of inexorable market forces that are leading to major global disruptions, transformations and collapses of traditional systems. A large part of this is emanating from the convergence of technology into biology, resulting in cross pollination of disciplines, countries, policies and regulations. With the democratization of data, power and authority are shifting resulting in the consumer achieving the status of “King” or “Queen” of the healthcare system.  Below are a few mega trends we can expect to transform the industry over the next five to seven years.

Diagnostics and prediction usurp primary dollars from therapeutics: Services become paramount rather than product per se

The healthcare industry has primarily focused on treatment. For example, according to Frost & Sullivan research, in 2012, the segment of global healthcare expenditure on treatment was 60 percent, compared to only 20 percent of revenue attributed to diagnostics. By 2025, the forecast shows therapeutics will decline to approximately 35 percent of total global spending while diagnostics and prediction will increase to 28 percent and 22 percent cumulatively.

A large part of the transition to prediction and prevention is not only being driven by cost but by technology enabling these changes as well. Data science, data management and predictive analysis have the ability to make more scientific indentation on healthcare systems than science itself.  A system of collecting and analyzing zillions of patient records, understanding protocols and pathways and identifying the highest success factors and best practices will lead to overall success rates increasing and costs decreasing.  Electronic medical records (EMRs) will be the foundation of disease databases with analytics to develop protocols and appropriate pathways of treatment and diagnosis.  This will move the responsibility and control from individual clinicians to fully documented and approved standards – and more into the patients’ hands.

California-based Kaiser Permanente is a great example of an early adopter of using patient data and changing protocols and procedures by introducing preventative measures.  As a result, stroke deaths declined 42 percent between 2001 and 2010 in Northern California alone. In the future, a machine might take on some of the clinical judgment and cognitive steps from clinicians.

By 2025, a quarter of the world’s population will be over 60 years of age. Of that population, approximately 70 percent will suffer from one chronic disease. Rapid urbanization, more sedentary life and a rise in obesity is further contributing to increases in diabetes and cardiovascular diseases across Africa and Asia. Consequently, over the next few years, more emphasis will be placed on introducing monitoring programs, patient engagement services and offering a more integrated package of healthcare services that include traditional and alternative medicine concepts. We are reverting to the days of holistic health in a more sophisticated form with mobile devices and wellness apps that can be quantified 24/7. It is very possible the industry will begin adopting the hospitality and airline industry culture where consumers will be rewarded for good health and wellness based on receiving “miles for your health” -similar to air miles.

Convergence of the food, retail and healthcare industry

There appears to be a subliminal wave of frustration and despondence among consumers today regarding the inability of current therapies to meet needs, giving rise to further health complications and additional costs without rewards. Additionally, more emphasis on health and wellness has created an industry of products and solutions focused on alternative food, nutritional value, natural ingredients and mind and body rejuvenation. I believe in the future, as wellness becomes paramount, the food and healthcare industry will converge and more emphasis will be placed on holistic health, including mental and lifestyle tools and aids.

Mega consolidation along the supply and delivery chain: Hospitals can learn from the Walmarts of the world as healthcare becomes consumerized

Strategically, the emphasis on value and cost will force the industry to consolidate. Single hospitals will become a thing of the past as will individual physician offices. The trend of horizontal integration has already begun. Hospital chains are forming to cut costs, increase purchasing power and consolidate services. Hospitals will start adopting the retail concept to manage their facilities and become truly integrated health systems combining diagnostic centers, home care, ambulatory, long term care, wellness companies, aged care center etc. This trend is very visible among Asia Pacific hospital groups where most operate in several countries and are now embarking on extending their shores to countries such as Latin America and Saudi Arabia. This will also impact distribution and future supply chain – visualize medical equipment and products being sold on eBay- or even Amazon-type channels. The automotive industry has embarked on this transition, and healthcare is almost ready for these changes as well.

The consumer as the eventual CEO in a world where healthcare is anywhere, any time

Ubiquitous dissemination of smartphone technology is putting the power of connectivity, health information and healthcare applications into everyone’s hands, enabling patient and consumer engagement, access and empowerment. Consumers will have the ability to make choices based on YelpYELP +0.61%-like reviews and social media. This will drive personalization of treatment, coverage and prices.

The feasibility of a “healthcare Internet of Things” is very much on the horizon. The world will be based on a model of seamless information gathering, collation, analytics and dissemination.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Reenita's perspective is spot-on, focusing on the importance of services over products, the convergence of food, retail and healthcare, the consumerization of healthcare, and the empowerment of the consumer/patient.

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3 Elements Missing from Most Marketing Plans

Over the past 15 years or so, marketing plans have essentially been replaced with marketing templates. In fact, you can do a Google search for "marketing plan template" and find 13,800,000 results. It is the efficiency of this template approach that sucks the life (and reality) out of most marketing plans. It creates a series of check-box assumptions that primarily serve the purpose of showing that you know how to fill out a marketing plan template. More concerning is that templates - and template thinking - cause marketers to miss three huge elements of modern marketing:

1) Influencer relations. Every market and every brand has influencers. These range from industry thought-leaders to journalists/bloggers to customers to employees. These smart, connected and vocal influencers are the individual sparks that add credence and acceleration to brands. Seeking out these influencers is typically relegated to only a pitch - when the long term value of connecting with these influencers and deeper more reciprocative way is often overlooked.

2) Thought-Leadership Content. While many brands have started to consistently embrace the concept of content marketing, most content vacillates between mildly useful to awkwardly written advertorials. The brands that are the best at content marketing are approaching it from a position of thought-leadership. This means having the human experts that touch the brand be the voice of the content - usually in the form of stories.

3) Draw a Crowd. If you can create a crowd, you have a force multiplier on creating sales opportunities and brand amplification. This typically means creating your own events - everything from live events, to webinars to blended events. When you host the party, you get to make the rules. This means you can choose the kind of events to have - and the kinds of crowds to draw. All towards broadening the circle of people who know you.

All three of these elements require a high level of strategic intention and clarity - which is why they are missing from most marketing plans. Strategic intention is getting the right things right before you consider any form of marketing plan. Things like core values, differentiators, message, audience profile, brand narrative, first impressions, culture, etc. Discovering and refining these brand elements will help you arrive at the conclusion that modern marketing is simply connecting with an audience at an emotional, authentic level - which is rarely a check box on the marketing plan template.

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How To Connect With & Influence Any CEO

How To Connect With & Influence Any CEO | Age of Personalization |

CEOs have a massive and disproportionate impact on a organization, more than most people realize. They are a vital channel if you want to something to happen, and the more senior you get, the more their reputation will affect how you personally are perceived externally.

So how do you connect with and influence your own – or any – CEO?

The reality of being a CEO is that it’s a tough job, with high expectations, lots of stakeholders to manage and huge time pressure. This means that many CEOs are often fire-fighting, and in between back-to-back meetings and trips. Often their lives are chaotic.

The first mistake most people make is that they hold CEOs in awe. Yes, anyone who reaches the top of any organization deserves some respect. But no CEO has all the answers. People often clam up when they first meet a CEO, and do themselves a disservice.

So if you want to connect, first, stop looking up to them in awe like most people they meet. Instead treat them as a respected peer, and focus on connecting properly and adding some value to their business.

So How Do You Add Value To A CEO?

CEOs actually are motivated in different ways, they have different strengths and weaknesses, and they value different things. They’re all interested in added value, but they perceive value differently.

And on top of that, it takes different communication approaches to influence them. So the key is to work out which type of CEO you are dealing with, and then tailor your approach accordingly. Then go in and be a peer.

Interviewing and coaching thousands of CEOs has taught me that, in the West, there are 7 main ‘CEO types’. These are:

(1) Commercial Executor


  • Driving focus on achieving best results in industry
  • Relentless focus & attention to details to ensure operational & strategic ambitions become reality

Example: Jack Welch, Former CEO of GE & Chairman, Jack Welch Management Institute

How To Influence:

Communicate plans based on impact on KPIs in their execution system; show then that you are focused & determined to deliver.

(2) Corporate Entrepreneur


  • Have something to prove
  • Disrupt industries because they believe in a better way of doing things
  • Excel in spotting breakthroughs & making them a reality
  • Their vision for their company is their vision for life

Example: Steve Jobs, Founder & Former CEO, Apple

How to influence:

Find a opportunity or a unseen issue and when they challenge you, push back hard in such a way that shows you know your stuff. This will earn them your respect and then you can have proper business conversation.

(3) Corporate Ambassador


  • Have a global vision with broader societal impact
  • Operate at geopolitical level & deliver transactions that transform industries

Example: Lord John Browne, Former CEO, BP

How to influence:

Share your world view & understand theirs. Explore opportunities for connection & building bridges. Bring to life the wider stakeholder benefits and their role it in up ahead.

(4) Global Missionary


  • On personal mission to make significant difference, as well as a corporate mission to make company great
  • Typically customer champions, they lead by inspiring & energizing people to tap into their potential

Example: Narayana Murthy, Chairman, Infosys

How To Influence:

Seek to understand their mission and share yours. Find an opportunity to work together where they overlap.

(5) People Leader


  • Find success through and with people
  • Positive, strong belief and empowering
  • Marshall teams to deliver their best
  • Build a trusting culture

Example: Angela Ahrendts, Burberry (Senior VP designate of Retail and Online Stores, Apple)

How To Influence:

Understand their philosophy and bring to life your passion and talent and dreams. Come up with ideas to move the commercial agenda or the soft agenda forward.

(6) Industry Technical Expert


  • Normally spent their life in an industry, believe that they know it better than anyone else.

Example: Industry dependent

How To Influence:

Get them to share their industry world view and their view on the main execution challenges. Then work out how to help them deliver.

(7) Professional Manager


  • Bring efficiency, processes and connecting systems
  • Reliable & committed, yet struggle to inspire workforce and do innovative breakthroughs

Example: Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

How To Influence:

Listen to and respect them, introduce incremental opportunities, and flag up the risk and consequences of not moving forward.

Over To You

So before you meet a CEO, remember to try and work out which type of CEO they are. Some CEO have multiple types but most CEOs usually have one primary type.

Always communicate in their world, unless – as with a corporate entrepreneur – you’re consciously trying to jolt them and mismatch to earn their respect.

Find common ground to connect on, and over time, build up a relationship with them. To sustain a relationship, you have to add real value – in a way they value – building trust and helping them with areas they find difficult over time. You may be surprised at just how much positive impact you have as a CEO confidant.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Things to consider, should you have an audience with any of these types of CEOs

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Your Content Kicks Butt, But Is It Taking Names?

Your Content Kicks Butt, But Is It Taking Names? | Age of Personalization |

If your content commands attention and stirs your audience to think or act a certain way, congratulations, you’ve got the “kicking butt” part of content marketing down. Now for the taking names portion — here are four LinkedIn lead generation tips to help you get a bigger return from your power-packing content.

Lead Generation Tip #1: Include a Compelling Call-to-Action That Proposes a Logical Next Step

Each click is an opportunity. When members of your target audience engage with your content then leave without taking an additional action, opportunity is lost.

What do you want your audience to do next? Do you want them to connect with you on social media? Do you want them to subscribe to your blog? Download a whitepaper? Request a demo?

Creating content with a goal in mind ensures you’re not creating content just for the sake of creating it. Goal-oriented content puts a “why” behind each piece of content you create, and allows you to get better at guiding your audience to the next step.

To do this effectively, you need to map content to the appropriate buying stage. Consider the following fictional blog post titles:

The Novice’s Guide to Marketing Automation

4 Things You Must Include In Your Marketing Automation RFP

Potential readers of each post will likely be at different stages of the buying cycle. For the second post, it might make sense to include a CTA for a competitive analysis report or a demo that leads to a lead generation form. Readers of your “novice” post will be less likely to fill out a lead generation form at this point (unless you have a free piece of content or a tool that novices find desirable), however they may be interested in subscribing to your blog or following you on social channels.

Lead Generation Tip #2: Make Your Gated Content “Worth It”

Be careful here. On one hand, you want a headline and a teaser description that convinces your prospect to give up personal information in exchange for your content. If you’re successful, you’ve got a new lead in the funnel. But what happens when your content doesn’t live up to expectations?

According to a Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs 2012 report on B2B content marketing, less than half of all digital vendor content is found useful, and buyers feel that 22% of the buying process is wasted with ineffective content. Vendors who produce low-value content are 27% less likely to be considered an option, 40% less likely to win the sale. Your audience expects valuable content when they give up their personal information to get it. Don’t let them down.

Lead Generation Tip #3: Use SlideShare

Not only is SlideShare super sharable and SEO-friendly, it’s also a great way to generate leads. You can offer SlideShare viewers a teaser of your presentation and then gate the rest of your content with a lead generation form. Give it a shot with your next SlideShare presentation and test lead-generation form placement within your presentation to see where it’s most effective.

Lead Generation Tip #4: Always Be Testing

Optimization isn’t just a marketing buzzword. It’s how successful marketers ensure they are getting the best possible results.

Think about it this way: What would a one percent conversion rate improvement mean for your company? For even a mid-market business, a one percent uptick in new leads can mean millions of dollars in additional revenue. At the very least, you should be testing the big stuff (i.e. offers, headlines, major design elements and CTAs) and go from there. Of course there are some general dos and don’ts you’ll want to adhere to when testing.

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Great tips: Have a call to action that's worth the effort, always be testing . . . but SlideShare? Really? What am I missing?

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What the Internet of Things will mean for CIOs

What the Internet of Things will mean for CIOs | Age of Personalization |

In a recent blog post, Frost & Sullivan analyst Andrew Milroy predicts that more data will be generated by machines, or things, this year than by human beings.

For that reason, 2014 is poised to be the year when the focus of both IT buyers and IT sellers shifts to the Internet of Things, a term coined by Kevin Ashton, cofounder of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, when he and his team created the global standard system for RFID and other sensors.

Cisco Systems has re-termed this phrase the Internet of Everything, as it believes that, eventually, everything will be connected. In fact, Cisco says there are more things connected to the Internet, today, than people in the world — and very soon, adds Dave Evans, chief futurist at Cisco, “Things that were silent [will] now have a voice.”

50 Billion Connected Objects, But Enterprises Don’t Care (So Far)

In addition to a range of multimedia devices such as computers, electronics, smartphones and communication tools, these “things” include thermostats, lighting systems, door locks, office equipment, appliances, various health monitors, medical and fitness censors, farm equipment, factory and warehouse machines, and so on. Or, based on Ciscos definition, “everything” means “anything with an on/off switch.”

Some skeptics argue that techno geeks have made these claims for years, ever since Ashton coined “Internet of Things” in 1999, but that little has changed beyond the connection of multimedia and electronic devices. Little, that is, except the hype, which continues to escalate every year.

According to a white paper by Forrester analysts Christopher Mines and Michele Pelino, there’s a minimum of connected world adoption among enterprise customers. “Our 2013 networks and telecommunications survey shows that more than 50 percent of companies have no interest and/or no plans to implement machine-to-machine or Internet of Things capabilities, while just 8 percent tell us they have implemented M2M or IoT systems.”

Lack of interest, according to Forrester, begins with security concerns (37 percent), followed by costs (32 percent), technology immaturity (25 percent), integration challenges, migration and/or installation risks and regulatory issues.

Yet ABI Research predicts more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things by 2020; Cisco says 50 billion. How will this affect organisations and the decisions that CIOs must make regarding the future connectivity of “things?”

Internet of Everything Will Affect All Verticals, Businesses

Mines and Pelino suggest that CIOs link connected-world technology with business outcomes. “CIOs will be a crucial catalyst for their organisations to capture emerging opportunities and harness the power of connected-world solutions,” they write. “Context-aware, location-based applications and services change how companies engage with and serve their customers. CIOs should straddle the line between what’s possible from a technology perspective and what’s meaningful to the business.”

Frost & Sullivan’s Milroy says the “explosion” of Internet of Things activity over the next few years will be driven by “the nexus of low-cost sensors, cloud computing, advanced data analytics and mobility.” Transportation and logistics represent the biggest revenue opportunities today for an Internet of Things ecosystem, she adds.

The deployment of low-cost, IP-enabled sensors within things that move products around — and operate within the actual products — opens vast opportunities far beyond just the supply chain optimisation, Milroy says. There are gains to be made in many industries, she says — transportation, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, energy management, facility management, security and surveillance, utilities, telecom, finance, insurance and many more. Basically, every sector in every system will be part of the connected world.

Forrester analysts say that CIOs have four priorities when it comes to the Internet of Things:

-Identifying business outcomes.
-Partnering with business leaders to ensure that organisational and skill sets are aligned.
-Addressing security issues and data privacy concerns.
-Evaluating and expand staffs’ software skills.

“Very few connected-world systems are turnkey and, therefore, [they] require architecture, integration, and agile development expertise,” Mines and Pelino write. “Implementing these systems will require joint business-technology task forces with analytic’s experts alongside operations, facilities and product development.”

Finally, while all these “things” are expected to be IP-enabled, the IT industry will need to embrace standard protocols for the true potential of the Internet of Things to be realised, Milroy says. “‘Things’ may not be able to communicate with each other and the people that engage with them. There remains a risk that we create an ‘Internet of Silos.’”

Linda Holroyd's insight:

Forrester analysts say that CIOs have four priorities when it comes to the Internet of Things:

-Identifying business outcomes.
-Partnering with business leaders to ensure that organizational and skill sets are aligned.
-Addressing security issues and data privacy concerns.
-Evaluating and expand staffs’ software skills.

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