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How To Future Proof Your Company (AI, Blockchain, Big Data) With Dr. Mark van Rijmenam
About The Guest
About The Guest
Dr Mark van Rijmenam is an international keynote speaker on the future of work and the organisation of tomorrow. He delivers also virtual keynotes and webinars. He is the author of three best-selling management books on big data, blockchain and AI. His latest book — The Organisation of Tomorrow — details how AI, blockchain and analytics turn your business into a data organization. He is the founder of Datafloq.com, a leading content platform on emerging technologies. He recently founded Mavin.org, a decentralized reputation-based content network to bring (anonymous) accountability to the internet. He holds a PhD in Management from the University of Technology in Sydney, where he did research how big data, blockchain and AI are changing organisations. He is a member of the 2Tokens project in The Netherlands, developing a roadmap towards realising value from Tokenisation.
He is the publisher of the ‘f(x) = ex‘ newsletter, read by thousands of executives, on the future of work and the organization of tomorrow. Dr Van Rijmenam has spoken in 20 countries across the globe and collectively inspired over 100.000 managers, directors and C-level executives. He is a recognised speaker by the Professional Speaker Association Holland, and he is a member of the Global Speakers Federation.
02:57 — Mark’s origin story.
12:02 — Blockchain in Fortune 500.
18:03 — What is true digital transformation?
20:05 — How to properly use data to drive business decisions.
26:28 — German cars and air filtration.
37:50 — Getting company buy-in to a digital transformation.
39:57 — Data and sovereign identities.
50:48 — Germany, WW2 and GDPR.
56:52 — Pivoting in a pandemic.
01:00:20 — Advice for entrepreneurs.
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What is the Success Story Podcast?
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
Read The Transcript (Machine Generated)
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Alright, thanks again for joining me. Today I am sitting down with Dr. Mark van rzm anom. He is the digital speaker. He’s an international keynote speaker on the future of work and the organization of tomorrow. He delivers virtual keynotes and webinars. He is the author of three best selling management books on big data, blockchain and AI. His latest book, the organization of tomorrow details how AI blockchain and analytics turn your business into a data organization. He is the founder of data flock calm. He recently founded maven.org, a decentralized reputation based content network. He holds a PhD in management from the University of Technology in Sydney, where he researched Big Data blockchain and AI and how they’re impacting businesses and organizations. He is also a publisher of a newsletter that is read by 1000s of executives on the same topics. He’s spoken globally, on to over hundreds of 1000s of individuals. And he is a recognized speaker by the professional speaker association of Holland, as well as being a member of the global speakers Federation on really interesting, really bleeding edge topics. Mark, thank you so much for sitting down. I really appreciate it. And I’m excited to unpack how you got into some of these topics. Because these are all very, very cutting edge and new. So walk me through walk me through your story.
Sure. Well, first of all, thanks for having me, Scott, it’s a great pleasure to be on your show, and really looking forward to the conversation. So yes, I’m really involved in in in bleeding edge technology, future technology, and how they impact organizations, how they impact society. And I’d like to think about, you know, what do these new technologies do? How do they work? How do they apply? And how do they affect us as human beings as a beloved also, as as organizations in our society, and I have done have a very straightforward to career path. Because a long time ago, I started in hospitality, I was part of the opening team that opened the first ski resort in the Middle East, something completely different. But after the innocence about a decade now, I am really involved in emerging technologies, big data blockchain in the eye for me to three main technologies that are looking to because they affect so many of the different other technologies. And yeah, I really enjoy being in this space, because there’s so much happening, and the world is changing so fast at the moment that it’s you know, it’s very difficult for a lot of people even for me, you know, it’s my job to stay up to date. But it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s very difficult to stay at today because you know, the world is changing so rapidly. And I really enjoyed doing that. So and I help organizations understand these technologies, while at the same time applying these same technologies within my own companies. So I call myself a future tech strategist. So not only talking about tech, but we’ll actually also apply tech.
I guess is it just a natural inclination towards tech and towards new and bleeding edge things. So I guess my question is, you were you were in hospitality at one point, but now you’re the founder of several organizations, you have a you’ve written books on on the topic. So walk me through that transition in your career, did you jump into entrepreneurship? Did you study and start doing consulting? Did you build an organization? And then after that was successful move into speaking? What was that like for you? Sure. So after I did my degree in hospitality management, as I said, I moved to Dubai to live there for some time. After that, I did a master’s degree in marketing management. And I ended up at the the IMG headquarters that sent a large Dutch bank where I moved more and more into the marketing space. But I gave it up after a couple of years because I went on a big adventure with a friend of mine. So we circumnavigated Australia on a pushbike in 100 days, which was, you know, an absolutely fantastic experience. And I can recommend anyone to do just, you know, 100 days of just, you know, eat, drink, sleep and cycle, and nothing else, which was fantastic. But the thing is, you know, after such an adventure, you don’t really want to work for for a bus anymore. So I tried starting my own company, I failed miserably, unfortunately. So I had to get a job ended up as a consultant focused on, you know, strategy, from an analytics perspective, I didn’t really like it. So I got myself fired. And then I decided to start to give it another shot. And literally over the weekend, I thought, you know, what shall I do? What can I do? I thought, you know, big data is going to be a hot topic, let’s do something in big data. So I didn’t have any understanding or any knowledge about big data. And so I set up a website next next day, I taught myself about big data, I started writing about it. And a month and a half later, I was invited as a keynote speaker, as the expert on big data, which to me was absolutely crazy. It was even a paid gig. And it was totally crazy for me. But it also showed to me apparently, there’s something in this space. And as I saying, we have, you know, in the land of the blind as to one is king. So I decided to, to, to really go down the rabbit hole, and and explore this, this this, this fascinating industry. And from there on, it sort of moved really fast because I started writing articles from from from the first articles came my first book, thing bigger. Then in 2015, I got the opportunity to do a PhD at University of Technology in Sydney, they gave me a few scholarships. So I Australia is not the most logical place to do a PhD on technology. I just wanted to live there a bit more longer, long term. So I moved to Australia. And after about six months in, I came into contact with with blockchain. And I saw that this technology is such a fundamental technology that it’s going to have a drastic impact on on society that I basically completely restarted my PhD, changed direction and included a blockchain at the same time also AI in my PhD. During my PhD, I co co wrote a book on blockchain, and how we can use it for social good, because I think that’s, that’s Yeah, how we can use technology from a positive perspective is very important to me. And at the end of my PhD, I turned my dissertation into a management book, because dissertations are boring to read. And a management book is a bit easier to read. So I turned my book, my dissertation into the management book, the organization of tomorrow. At the same time, I found a data flock, a content platform, and yeah, I think I’ve really found my sweet spot, because I really, really enjoy being in this, you know, this, this is bleeding edge technology. And at the same time helping organizations you know, understand what’s happening. So since that first keynote, I gave in 2012, I’ve been doing keynotes until last year, obviously until Corona hits. I used to fly all around the world. And that stopped. I haven’t been in a plane for about a year and a half. It’s actually crazy. I didn’t know what’s happening. But it’s, it’s totally crazy and bizarre, but I decided to reinvent myself. And since I talked about digitalization, I decided to digitize myself. And that’s where that’s where the digital speaker concept comes from. Which basically means I’m now available as an avatar. I’m available as a hologram or a combination of both. And I have recently started my own podcast or what I call it, the tech journal, where the digital speaker covers the digital world, literally from inside to digital world, because it’s recorded in virtual reality. At the moment, just like a proof of concepts are not yet available in VR, but that’s just a matter of time when they move to death, because I think it’s a fascinating area. To explore, and it really brings everything together of what I do what I like.
I love the story, a lot of a lot of self taught moments in there. And I appreciate that as well, just because I think that that’s something that is very inspirational for people that are trying to pivot in their careers. For example, you’re not a developer or coder, by by trade when you first graduated from university, not not your PhD, but like earlier on and went to hospitality, but you took advantage of the fact that there was probably not a lot of focus on a lot, like you said, in a month and a half of studying big data from a business perspective, you’re able to educate some organizations. So it just goes to show you how much of a lack of of proper understanding of emerging technology there is in businesses in large businesses where I think you see a lot of you probably worked with a lot of like coders, developers, that were kind of in the startup space, but those are not the ones that were entrenched in large organizations. So I think a lot of the a lot of your your success was the fact that you had a business mind, and you understood the application. And that’s just a personality trait. They want to sort of explore that and and and figure out how it’s going to impact organizations. And now you’re now you have like, an actual brand around that. So it’s incredible. But do you see, do you see companies starting to understand these trends? You said, What was this like, I guess when you first started doing this in and sort of building an audience and a community around these bleeding edge tech in 2013? What do you say 2020 1220 2012? That is obviously back then companies were nobody’s ever heard of really, really blockchain, you know, use cases AI was sort of like, uh, okay, maybe in the future? Do you see companies starting to understand these technologies more, use them more, apply them more in their day to day or for many companies? Is it still very theoretical?
I think it’s, it’s near the really top five, to fortune 500 companies, they are really doing big data doing experimenting with blockchain, and you know, doing with AI. But I think for the majority of United SMEs, and I think they’re on 70 million SMEs in the world. And I think the majority is still doing what they’ve always been doing, you know, running a company doing it, most of them doing really well, using some technology, but not really the bleeding edge technology that I’m focusing on. And when I started with, you know, exploring the world of big data in 2012. At that time, I thought united, it’s about five, five to seven years before everyone is doing big data, and big data is now completely normalized, across all SMEs, and that’s still definitely not the case. And the same is for for, you know, blockchain and AI, it’s, I think it’s still really early days, we see really cool examples of AI, you know, by deep mind by open AI, you know, GPT, three, and all the other, you know, AlphaGo, zero amusia, or whatever, really cool technology being developed. But the actual, you know, the SMEs, actually implementing that, I think it’s still relatively limited. And I think that that to reason for that, I think, first of all, is is a lack of understanding, you know, what, what do these technologies mean? And how actually, do you start with these technologies, not only from I know, the senior management within the company, but also, you know, everyone in the company, and it’s my vision that if you want, if you want really digitally transform your organization, you need to have a shared understanding across the entire organization. So that means, you know, from the operational staff to middle management to senior management, everyone needs to have the same understanding, what do these technologies mean? And what do they mean for us as an organization, and that, and that understanding is often lacking, you know, you may be, you know, some people within a senior management or VP level sea level, they might have an understanding, but everyone in the business, you know, from the call center agent to the warehouse, operator, everyone needs to understand how this works. And that’s, that’s a that’s a major challenge. And I think the second problem is that, you know, if you really want to move into AI or blockchain, it also requires the right developers and the right resources. And yes, there are plenty of people doing really cool stuff, developing really cool technology, but still not enough for all those 17 million SMEs. So and they are very expensive, for good reason, because they develop really cool and cool things. And I think that’s also a problem. So then you need to work with you know, the software as a service or acts as a service solutions. But But yeah, these take time to be developed as well. I think that that’s sort of the challenge here that organizations face in in really digitally transforming your organization.
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Now, no. So a couple points I want to this is really good. And I want to I want to break this down. So the organization’s tomorrow. That’s your that’s your most recent book. And there’s a couple different technologies that companies can use. So first, let’s just describe for me and for listeners who, because it’s a wide variety of listeners. What What is a digital transformation for an organization? What does that actually mean? And is that what’s the message that you tell the sea levels executives, the reason why they have to digitally transform their company.
So I think the reason why an organization needs to digitally transform your business is very simple. You know, you want to you want to remain competitive. There are too many examples of organizations, you know, of, of incumbent organizations that didn’t reinvent themselves or didn’t update themselves and lost a game, you know, famous example being Kodak, who invented digital photography, and then failed to do anything with it. So as an organization, you you need to continuously disrupt yourself, reinvent yourself, just like I did, you know, as small small speaker organization, you need to you need to continue to reinvent yourself. And in order to do that, in the book, I describe a digital transformation framework of how you can digitally transform your organization, which I think considers a four steps, defying distance distributing, analyzing and automating. So to expand it a little bit. Firstly, of course, you need to data for your organization, because without data, you can’t do any, you can’t benefit from the exponential technologies that we have. So you need to collect data in all your processes in all your customer touch points, whether that is using your connected sensors or IoT devices to understand what’s going on, or to draw the way to collect the data that you need. Once you have the collected the data, you need to start to distribute the data either using the cloud so that you know everyone within an organization has access to it and becomes you have sort of a data lake where your data doesn’t live in silos anymore. But it’s available to anyone within within the business. Or you can use blockchain if you want to collaborate with your industry peers in a more effective and efficient way. For example, in supply chains, where we can get rid of all the paperwork if we move to blockchain
The third step is indeed then to analyze your data because you know, it’s nice to have data for your business to distribute the data. But you also need to do something with the data. So you can use to descriptive, predictive or prescriptive analytics to do something with this data. And the way I always explain this to organizations using descriptive analytics is like business intelligence. It’s like the the rearview mirror in your car, you know, it helps you understand what has happened from one second to go to 10 years ago. But if you drive your car by simply looking in your rear view mirror, you’re actually going to crash. So you need predictive analytics, which is, you know, your car’s navigation system that tells you the most optimal route that based on various variables of various scenarios. So you use all kinds of data to to predict scenarios, and then you make decisions yourself. And then the final phase of understanding your business is prescriptive analytics, which is, you know, your car is basically a self driving car driving you autonomously to your destination, using all kinds of data that you analyze, you build scenarios, and then the system selects the best scenarios autonomously. So that that really helps you already to to improve your organization to understand, you know, what’s happening in your environment, and to center to sensory opportunities and to seize them. Then the final phase in digitally transforming a business is ultimate that we have to automate various steps to, to use artificial intelligence or to use smart contracts when when you’re talking about blockchain to create more human machine collaboration, as I call it, where you can automate the autonomous tasks, the monitors, monitors task, where you can automate a lot of the work using AI to make your organization more effective and efficient. So four steps, which I think you know, help organizations understand in digitally transforming their organizations. And the reason that they need to do that is, you know, you want to remain competitive, because, you know, there are always new organization startups who have this ingrained in their DNA, and are therefore a lot very competitive and a very difficult opponent to win from.
Definitely. And I think that i think that that’s something that I’ve, that was sort of, you know, I was interested in this conversation about digital transformation, because I am you the way you speak with digital transformation, I’m 100% behind. And I believe that that is the way that companies have to act and the way that companies have to modernize, and future proof. But I do not see companies really taking this as seriously as I think some of them should, I feel like so if we look at the world of blockchain, for example, probably because it’s more it’s just it’s very, it’s been very adopted by the end consumer versus AI or big data, which is very much in terms of business application. And when I say blockchain, obviously, you have the business applications like smart contracts and whatnot, which I think are even less so adopted and understood than, for example, decentralized finance or defy because everybody and their mother is now trying to trade crypto and make money. Right, so. So even even in blockchain, which is a widely used application, I still don’t see a ton of businesses, for example, using smart contracts in the way that they transfer data between different organizations and whatnot. And I see companies, I do see things like IBM that’s trying to do things and I’m sure like Oracle and like these really believes that like large fortune 500. But how do we how do we take legacy fortune 500 or fortune 100? Or even just like you said, like SMEs, and like for for everybody’s list of SMEs, small and medium enterprises, smaller businesses. So how do we how do we get these people to get on board? Or is it just a matter of it’s the culture of the organization, and it’s the executive team of the organization that that has to be into it. And if they’re not, they’re probably going to go the way of the you know, Kodak or the way the blockbuster The, the way of the taxis or any any other company has been uprooted.
I think if you’re, as an organization, you don’t reinvent yourself, you don’t start to you digitally transform your business, you are going to be out in the next three to five to 10 years depending on your your industry. So you will have to change your your your question regarding blockchain, you know, it’s blockchain is a very nascent technology still, and I always compare it to like the early days of the Internet, and it is not, you know, plug and play technology yet. It is a it’s difficult. And apart from the technology being difficult, it’s also from an organizational perspective difficult because as an organization, you need to collaborate with your industry partners. You need to come to terms in what kind of blockchain you’re going to use, what kind of standards what kind of you know all All these things that you need to get an shared understanding of with your new supply chain partners. And that takes time, you know, it’s that’s from a human perspective, we don’t like change, it’s very difficult to change, it’s very difficult to get everyone aligned, shall I think that’s one of the reasons why it takes so long. So apart from the technology still being under development, and still a lot of, you know, the blockchain ecosystem is, a lot of the technologies still need to be developed or is is really early stage and is not, you know, production ready yet. But at the same time, organizations, they need to work differently, and they need to change and editor to you, as humans, we don’t like change. So that’s why I think it takes so long to do so. But it is, for me, it is something that I mean, it’s obvious that we’re going through into this direction, you know, technology, you can’t stop and the technology, technological advancements are only going faster. And we are, you know, in next five to 10 years, when the future of work has arrived, so to say, I do think that, you know, organizations will look fundamentally different than it and today,
do you see, do you have any examples Top of Mind of organizations that are doing go undergoing a proper digital transformation now, that you look to and you’re like, this is this is the model that we should look at?
Well, one example that I always use, because I think it’s a fascinating example, is a German car company called kaysa, compressors, very traditional, very traditional product company, building these really huge air ventilation products for like large factories, warehouses, etc. You know, if there’s one company who you wouldn’t expect to, to differ from themselves, it’s such a company, but they did, and they used to sell these large machines for a lot of money, and they would install it, and then they would leave, and if it would break down, you would give them a call, they would come, they would fix it, they will send you an invoice for for fixing it. Nowadays, what they do is they, they install these machines, these machines for free. And they sell air as a service, literally. So you pay per cubic meter air you consume, and the usual kinds of predictive analytics to predict, you know, when the machine is about to break down, and then they send someone to fix it before it breaks down. Because obviously, if it breaks down, it’s costing the company money. So it’s a completely different way of thinking, you know, completely different perspective. And they have managed it, they are one of the few companies in the world that make money by selling air. And which I think is a is a fascinating example.
That is a that is a really fascinating example. And how as, like, you know, how they’re doing as an organization is a concept that’s catching on, like, are they are they successful in this in this setup?
I think I think they are and you know that they are 100 year old, traditional German company, and I see your day, day to day surviving. And I think they actually thriving by taking a different approach. And that’s what I always thought our organization is really, you need to achieve this different perspective. Or you’re also going to be one of the most beautiful women which you need to achieve this crystal shift within within your organization, and as you start shift for those No wonder what it is it it’s this famous image for a duck and a rabbit, and you can either see a duck or you see a rabbit, but you can’t see them both at once you can switch between them. And that’s called a shell shift. Are you are you are you you move from one perspective to another. And I think that’s that’s the interesting thing that organization need to achieve, you know, you need to achieve this crystal shift from you, or from a product company to a data organization where you are like, you look differently at how you service your customers, you have the stakeholder model instead of a shareholder model. And if you do that, you know, if you take care of your customer, I always say it and your customers will take care of your shareholders.
Interesting, okay, I like that perspective as well. So there’s a few, there’s a few themes that I see that are sort of recurring. So data. So moving from a product oriented organization into a data into a data organization. And data is not just by your definition, like big data, it’s it’s it’s using data points to better serve your customer. So it’s Yes, I guess that is technically the definition of big data is understanding all the data points and building that into your process, but also, I guess, with with blockchain or AI, or or even just understanding your market better, right, those are, you’re a data driven organization. The traditional organization, shareholder, the shareholder oriented organization, that’s a difficult thing to move away from. I don’t know, personally, any examples of companies that have moved away from a shareholder focused organization to a stakeholder focused organization? It seems like it’s a scary thing for a company to do. Because at the end of the day, who owns the company, who pays the bills? How, how would a company approach that? And that’s a that’s a heavy topic. And that’s a tough question. So I’m just curious if you have information, like an idea of how a company could start to make that move and validate that serving their customers better backing that with data, could allow them to sort of slowly remove that grip that a shareholder would have on how they do business for the past 10 2030 years, because that is probably what stops companies from truly changing.
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Yep, yeah, but I think it would be in the shareholders best own interest to move from a shareholder model to a stakeholder model. Because I think a shareholder model is by, by definition, a short term model, short term focused model. And long term is generally always better, you know, yeah, it takes a bit longer. But in generally, long term approach, long term perspective, works way better than a short term perspective. And there’s a company called Unilever, maybe you’ve heard of it a lot, one of the largest fmcg companies in the world, I think, and that as far as I know, they have this this stakeholder stakeholder model you know, at a very much no focus on sustainability very much focused on you know, caring for the panel’s caring for for for for the customers and caring for their employees in a ways that I in a way that I think, you know, many organizations can learn from and yeah, I haven’t mentioned started I have hospitality background and if there’s one thing that you learn from us Delta is that you have to take care of your guests. Because if you don’t offer the best service for your guests, your guests will just go away, you know, they go to different hotel, different restaurant or whatever, you know, you can, you can have a restaurant and you can have crappy food. But if you have an amazing waiter or waitress, you know, you can still have a really, really good evening and you can still come back. If it’s the other way around, you certainly will won’t come back to the restaurant, because a waiter or waitress can really ruin your evening, even though the food might be fantastic. So you really need to have this this thinking of, you know, how can I take care of my customers? How can I offer the best product or service for that. And then once you start doing that, you will look differently at your, at your employees, how can I make sure that my employees are happy, because if my employees are happy, then they will do their best for that for the customers. What do they need, you know what kind of data they need, what kind of insights they need for them to make the decision. Now, again, comparison to the hospitality industry. In especially in the high end industry, a lot of the operation staff, they have no decision making power to just fix a problem, you know, don’t care how you do it, just make sure that the guests is happy. And if you bring that to you know other organizations where you use data to lower the decision making power from the executive level, to anyone who’s facing the customer, or anyone within an organization that needs to make a decision, and give them the full transparency to make the decision, then I think you will have a much better outcome than when you don’t do that. So data can really help you give this transparency give this decision making capability to anyone within the organization so that they can then make the best decision which is in the best interest for the customer and therefore automatically for the organization.
I love that. I love that. So the the ability to use data properly in your organization. It permeates all aspects of how the organization runs. And I see I see that that that’s that’s really where the future of an organization lies. I asked him questions about the future of work as well. But I just I’m curious, when you just one more question on sort of on this topic. When you speak to all these managers and these directors and these executives, do you know, what stage are they at in their organization? Are they just doing this as a introduction? In the past two years, let’s say are they doing this as an introduction into all of these topics? Or are they working on a project? Are they already incorporating some of these ideas into their organization? Or is this net new for them?
That really depends, you know, when I come into an organization for for, you know, a keynote or a session or workshop or whatever it is, I focus really on the on the on the starting point of your digital transformation process. I just had you on this show achieving the shared understanding within the business. Because normally, you know, what often happens is one department might might think one way, and the other department might think totally different way. And if there’s only if these are not aligned, then it becomes very difficult to digitally transform your organization. So I am really focused on that area. So when I when I talk to organizations, it is trying to do that, but it’s you know, the other day I was talking to organization, and I actually got the question, don’t don’t don’t scare our employees, when you talk about AI, because they might get scared that they would lose the jobs, which is which is a very, you know, relevant fear that that employees have and the employers need to go about in the right way. Because again, if employees fear that they are losing their jobs, they are certainly not going to help you in your digital transformation process. So but there are also different levels of understanding you can have a detailed understanding of how AI works and how it impacts your business or a more superficial level, which often you know, can be a sufficient already to move to move forward. It really depends on how far you want to go How soon you want to change organization, organization to what kind of your level of understanding you require, basically.
Very good. Um, and then I guess Sorry, I, as you say more as you speak more, and you bring up more points that just I get more ideas about things that don’t. So one thing that I actually I did want to ask you about, you tweeted, I think it’s your pinned your pin tweet. And I’m just curious, I think I understand what it means. But I want you to explain it for me as well, because I thought I thought it was an interesting statement. digitalism will mark the end of liberalism and be the first truly global political doctrine, a story where governments companies and citizens battle for data. What does that mean? Exactly?
True. So first for those who are going to My Twitter feed now, I changed my pin today. So I can show you the link in the footer for the speaker notes. But it’s, yeah, digitalism is a new theory that I’ve been developing for about a year now. And it’s a way where I think, you know, everything is being digitized at the moment, the entire planet, everything that we do. But data gives comes with tremendous power, as we know, from the large tech companies to Google’s, the Facebook’s of this world, but they also should come. And this will always say, with great responsibility of how to deal with that. And what I envisioned, what I foresee happening is, liberalism is nearing its end, you know, and I’m not the only one who says that, you know, you’ve all know Harare also states that, that you because of big data, because of AI, liberalism is nearing its ending. And we see this happening all over the place, you know, free competition doesn’t really still exist, you know, Facebook, the Googles of this world, they buy every company, every startup that’s out there, that doesn’t really still exist, you know, free will, does that still exist, and you we have recommendation algorithms that determine everything for us. So, you know, liberalism is, you know, running into a few problems at the moment. But at the same time, we, I see that, you know, a lot of organizations and governments understand the power that data brings. So, what I see is that, you know, in the next 10 2030 years, the struggle within society is the struggle, the fight around data, who owns this data, and who can do something with this data. And on the one hand, we have the governments of the corporations. And on the other hand, we have the citizens, as you and me, and both parties have different perspectives, have different objectives, and have different, you know, what, what they require. And so digitalism is this fight around here, this most important resource ever found or created by humans, and it can basically go in three directions. So digitalism has three streams. The first one is states digitalism, which basically means that, you know, the government uses data to enslave its citizens. And this is something we see happening in China, you know, is massive aliens, you know, extreme john, you know, the idea of effort, they have developed an AI panopticon where everyone just the state knows everything about its citizens, that that’s the speed that they do. And especially with, you know, COVID-19, they have QR codes to leave the house to enter a building, they scan everything, that your your temperature, they have a social credit score, today really use data to enslave their citizens. That’s not the society I would like to live in. And then you have a second stream, which, which is new digitalism, which is basically corporate surveillance. And you know, where, you know, we have these large corporate organizations that are have become so incredibly powerful, that the governments they can’t really do anything anymore. You know, we see this happening with 2018, in the US Senate, where the senators asked Mark Zuckerberg basically how the internet worked. And you know, those are the people who are, you know, well, I’m making legislation for the citizens. While Good luck with that, you know, that’s not going to happen, let’s not only view as to what’s also happening in the Netherlands, where, you know, legislators have a very limited understanding of what technology means and how technology is impacting organizations. But the result is that the these tech companies are becoming bigger and bigger and bigger, they are so incredibly powerful. And they basically use the data to enslave the customers, for the shareholders. Again, that’s not a society I would like to live in. And then the final phase is what I call modern determinism, which I think is the most positive approach to data. And we use it here we use data to empower the citizens. So we have, you know, ethical use of AI, we have, you know, self sovereign identities, you have full control over your your data, a full, secure, secure data, privacy, a concept called anonymous accountability. So you can be anonymous, but you’re still being accountable for whatever you do. And that’s sort of what I see happening in Europe, you know, we Europe has developed came up with the GDPR. They have AI regulation, they came up with this risk based based approach to AI where they said, No, we don’t want facial recognition in Europe. We don’t want social credit scores in Europe, and all other AI needs to be regulated very, very well. And so that’s sort of the theory of determinism is still under development. I’m still trying to figure out how this works. And but i think it’s it’s these three streams, and that will, you know, take over the entire world and depending on in which society you live, this is either something to look forward to offer something to be really, really afraid of.
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Do you think that what do you think the end result? Because you already are seeing this start to start to manifest in a certain direction in Europe? Like you mentioned before those senate hearings, obviously it showed a lack of true understanding of technology. But obviously, that will also change with time as well. Right? There are there are applications that are focused on that on that positive digitalism in North America, and as legislators move out and new ones move in with a better understanding of technology, the sentiment will also change. do you what do you think the end result will be in North America? Do you think it will model Europe? Or do you think it will be its own own for I hope
shows them I hope it will muddle Europe also for for us citizens. But don’t don’t forget, you’re just hearing what I’m referring to wasn’t 2018 when the internet is already 25 years old. It took 25 years to figure out how the internet works well to be explained how the internet works. But I think it’s also a generational challenge here because you know, the old generation is still is still in power. And they are from an era where we didn’t have any, you know, Internet where we didn’t have mobile phones whatsoever. Now we’re slowly into moving into a younger generation that is empowered, that has seen both, you know, I am from the degeneration I remember very well narrow where we didn’t have mobile phones, where we had to go call up our friends, you know, to make an appointment and we would actually be there at a time that we agreed upon because otherwise there was no way to do it to connect each other. And but you know, in the next 10 to 20 years, yeah, it will be January Generation Z, I think they are called the latest generation which have grown up with with Tick Tock they have grown up with, you know, Facebook, Google VR AI. So these they are digital natives and they I think they have a different approach to digitalization. And I hope and I think what you see happening as well as generation cities is much more aware of that also of the of the the powers that digitalization brings, but also the responsibilities that come with it. So for America, I think there’s still hope for China. I’m a bit more worried, because the government is so powerful. Yeah,
that’s fair. And I think that that’s, you know, I think China is its own beast and how they manage this and I don’t think that’s I don’t think that’s really what the what the Western world is is trying to focus on in terms of where the ideal digital society ends up. I don’t think that China would be the model. I think that Europe is a good model. This is probably Europe is probably is probably leading the way in terms of a lot of this actually, they’re very, they’re very strict with with data, very, very strict. And I’m not sure I’m not sure why that part of the world decided to be so strict with data, but it’s just seems like they’re very forward thinking and how they try and control and and combat any sort of negativity that comes with collecting data. I don’t know if you have a historical idea as to why but I see it.
I think that that the the history definitely plays a role here, you know, Germany, of course, in the Second World War. You know, I think Germany has one of the most strict, strict privacy legislation in the world, because of the war, because of the Stasi that knew everything about what was going on in, in East Germany. And I think that has definitely, that definitely plays a role here. And, you know, Germany is a powerful nation within Europe. And I think that that’s what’s being reflected. But I think it’s Yeah, I think it is, it’s a good thing that that we have this and yeah, Europe is still a very economic and economic power, you know, 500 million rich consumers should therefore, you see that this GDPR, for example, as it has an effect on the entire world, which is good. No, I
think it’s just very interesting to just to look at the history and see how it impacts it. And I think that Germany is a great example that that is very interesting. Okay, so I guess, we’ve gone through a weak case, we’ve gone through data, we’ve gone through AI, we’ve gone through blockchain. And I guess the last thing that, you know, we sort of touched on in a few different ways was was the future of work, and you’re sort of living, you’re a living example of the future of work and the way that you digitized yourself. And you’re, you’re putting yourself out there in a in an avatar hologram format. Just a few, a few thoughts from you, I know this, all these topics are so great. And honestly, we could probably do like one show on every one of these topics and go really deep on it. But your wealth of knowledge and all these different things. So I just wanted to pick your brain on all these different things. So future work, what are some? What are some thoughts on the future of work post pandemic? What What do we think work looks like going forward? What’s changed? What’s changed because of the pandemic, what’s changed, regardless of the pandemic, just some thoughts on that. So I think
that the pandemic is sort of a blessing in disguise, no matter how extremely terrible it is, you know, and all the people who died, but it is, if there’s one silver lining to this terrible crisis is that it really kickstarted digital transformation across the world. And, you know, if I, every year, every year in December, I write up a trend prediction of what I think the trends will be for the next year. And if I had written in 2019, that half year later, 99% of the organizations would work remotely, you know, people would call would have called me totally crazy. But this is what happened. And I think that is one of the good things that came out of this crisis that people found out, you know, hey, look, actually, we can work from home, we can work remotely. And you know, there are really cool technologies out there. And, of course, I can only see I see you probably from, from my perspective, in the Netherlands and European Union here, and Netherlands, you know, we have your perfect infrastructure. So, you know, the internet never went down, and everyone’s still had 100 Mega 200 megabytes, download speed. So, you know, zoom calls, Google Hangouts, they all work perfectly. I think that that really helped. But it also showed that, you know, if you if organizations really need to change, then they It seems so that they can actually they can change. And we should use this, this understanding to continuously change the organization’s also post pandemic, and start to you’re incorporating digital technologies for the benefit of the customer for the benefit of citizen to do so. And there’s no there’s no excuse anymore, that you can’t do this, because we have proven to ourselves that we can. So I think that’s an uncomfortable but yeah, oh yeah, it’s been very uncomfortable. But but we have managed to do so. And I think from now on now, it’s a it’s a way forward, onwards and upwards of how to how to use and embrace these technologies, more and more to really create the organization tomorrow, which as I mentioned, is a data organization that it’s Staff weighed stakeholders and society.
Yeah. Okay, so let’s, let’s wrap up because most people don’t listen longer than, than an hour. So I’ll ask, I’ll ask them some rapid fire career questions that based on your experiences to give some insights to some people that are earlier on in the career that want to learn from, from the brand you built, the community you’ve built? Is there anything? I’ll go into that line of questioning in a moment? Is there anything that you want to bring up? or discuss that, that we didn’t get into today?
Um, no, I think we’ve covered most of it that I want to share. Yeah, I think it’s, it’s one thing that I want to do give, give give to listeners is now we are actually living in exponential times, you know, it did, the era of linear thinking is over. And, you know, we’ve really, we’re really coming out of the curve of the hockey stick when it comes to cloud technologies, because all these technologies are converging at the moment. And that is, you know, is what’s going to have this massive impact. And that’s why I think, you know, the 2020s will be one of the most important decades of humanity, because, you know, how are we going to use these technologies? How are we going to apply these technologies to all the massive problems that we face, such as climate change, such as the pandemic, we can use these technologies to, to, to, to, to, to counter these. So it’s important as an organization, as a business owner, as a as a, as a manager, as an employee, now, we’ve reached the era of exponential thinking of exponential change, and you should be aware of that and prepare yourself for that.
Very good. Okay, so over your career, what was your biggest challenge in your personal career? And how did you overcome that?
Well, I think my biggest challenge was, you know, when, when the pandemic hits, you know, I had built my company, I had, you know, a nice, comfortable position, and overnight, boom, it was gone. And not only my speaking business, also, my content platform, just, you know, advertising revenue just drained. So I was hit on two faults. And but I think, you know, there’s two things you can do, you can cry in a corner and be really sad. Or you can get up and you’re faced with the new reality and try to reinvent yourself. And that’s what I did. And that gives me so much energy now. But it has been, it has been quite difficult to such a
trip. But it’s, it’s a good lesson as well, that you did it successfully. What would be one lesson that you would tell your younger self? Um, it’s a good question.
I think you should just really try to now be be adaptive and be flexible. And, you know, I’ve been flexible, I think I could have been more flexible and adaptive and already started my career. Again, also for me when I was hit with the pandemic, that that was when I really changed my the things around. But I think adaptability is becoming one of the most important career traits or skills that you need. Because your careers are going to change much faster than they’ve ever done. So you need to be able to change you need to be able to be flexible, and to think in new new ways.
Good. Pick one person who had a major impact on your life. Who is that person? And what did they teach you? Well,
I don’t know him personally. I have a lot of respect for Elon Musk, by by what he does, on how he how he has built his companies and how he’s he has this stakeholder stakeholder model. And what he’s doing with at the moment, in a good space, a different story, but now how he how he’s building SpaceX and Tesla and really has this long term vision that he starts to dig in and start start start building is something that I that I take away, and that I tried to do as well.
Very good. And a book or podcast recommendation that people should go check out. Besides besides zero, I’ll plug a plug your book in the show notes, something that on something else that you that you’ve listened to her or read.
I liked the podcast futurist very much, he discusses with a lot of different people on different technologies and really goes into into depth So yeah, it’s about the future. It’s about bleeding edge technology. So that’s, that’s, yeah, I have to like that. Yeah. Good.
Good recommendation. I haven’t heard that recommendation before on this show. So that’s good. And then most importantly, what does success mean to you?
Success to me means having fun in what you’re doing. I think you need the if you if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re happy. And success comes by itself. I think too many people don’t enjoy their work or whatever they do. And I think if you don’t enjoy, you should change. So for me, success is, you know, being happy where I am and enjoying what I do.