Smart people work for smart companies

Date: 20th June 2013

Is your company using business models invented in the 1970’s, 80’s or 90’s to serve smart customers who are two decades ahead of them? Smartphones, apps, social media, and widespread wireless access are all products of the last ten years… they have radically changed customer expectations.

At the risk of being a bit harsh, your employer’s business model may be too archaic to support the career you want to build. Working for such a company may pay your bills today, but it is not a good long-term strategy. To help you understand the difference between stupid and smart companies, let me share a story from the early days of the Web.

Quick – is your house on fire?

In the early days of the web, Michael Saylor, CEO of the software firm Microstrategy, used to tell a story about an imaginary Web service called My House Is On Fire.

The way the site works, said Saylor, is that it is connected to all the emergency services databases around the world, and you go there periodically to type in your address. It then searches to see if your house is on fire, and if it isn’t, then the site says, “Congratulations! Your house is not on fire. Please check back tomorrow.”

This is the way stupid companies operate today. To be specific:

  • The customer has to initiate the action (i.e. call customer service).
  • The customer has to waste his or her time waiting for an answer.
  • The company doesn’t learn from each interaction; it fails to remember information for the customer.

Will you always be ready to help your family?

Now, imagine a company that uses the same capabilities differently. You sign up for a service – let’s call it Peace of Mind – that constantly searches emergency databases, and if it ever finds mention of your home address or any member of your family, it immediately contacts you in the fastest way possible.

This service requires no initiative on your part, and you might go years without interacting with it. But it is worth far more to you than My House Is On Fire.

This is the way smart companies operate today. They harness disruptive new forces to benefit customers:

  • Smart companies leverage digital sensors to gather and analyze data flows.
  • Smart companies leverage pervasive memory to track information for customers, instead of about them.
  • Smart companies move beyond social media to offer new services that used to be impossible.
  • Smart companies are helping to create a Physical Web in which most people, devices, information and ideas will be linked.

To translate this into personal terms, ask yourself which service your firm is most likely to offer today. If it is My House Is On Fire, then you should start looking for a new job. If it is Peace of Mind, then you should sleep like a baby.

Smart people work for smart companies.


Posted on Linked in by Brice K. June 19th 2013

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