Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2016. My flights, transfers, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event. Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.
Here are my rough notes from the Closing General Session at Day 2 of Dell EMC World 2016. These are by no means complete, but they may come in handy for someone. Like most tech conferences, the closing session is generally run by thinky folks from outside the company. Besides Jeremy Burton presenting a short summary video covering the last few days of activity, there was no Dell EMC presence on stage.
“Innovation Panel” moderated by Aarti Shahani.
Every company wants you to believe they’re upending the world, and the 5 largest companies in the world by market cap are tech companies.
Malcolm Gladwell (@Gladwell) takes the stage.
“I’m the guy who has a blackberry” – he says it’s hard to talk to a crowd about something when they know more about it than you do.
The social dimension of innovation – there’s the thing we’re innovating and then there’s the context in which we’re innovating.
Example of fighting childhood leukaemia – Emil J. Freireich, Jr – using the 4 drug treatments at the time all at the same time. Published a paper in 1965 in Advances in Chemotherapy – solved the problem. We still use this strategy today. Cure rate for childhood leukaemia is now around 98%. That’s an example of innovation. He got an idea and took an enormous risk in testing out. He didn’t just take an operational risk, he took a social risk.
Sense of Urgency
Have you tried it on animals? What if you fail? “I’ve got 6 kids who’ll al be dead in 6 weeks, why can’t i try?”. Sense of urgency helped him go forward, other people had been doing science by the book. The compulsion to tackle the problem immediately. Gladwell gave the example of Xerox PARC, with Steve Jobs visitingt in 1979. Showed him the Alto with a GUI. Jobs goes back to his team, stops work on the Lisa and comes up with the Mac. What is it that distinguishes Jobs? Not smarter. Not a visionary. More resources? No. He’s in a hurry. It has to be done tomorrow. That’s the reason we’re not using Xerox computers today.
Don’t require the approval of others. Innovators are open, conscientious, and disagreeable. You need to not require the world to pat you on the back. There will be a time when the world thinks you’re crazy.
Gladman gave the example of Ingvar Kamprad working on Swedish furniture in the 50s – became Ikea. “Furniture made in Poland and shipped flat”. Dissruption requires some inner strength and independence of character.
Someone who doesn’t believe in the status quo
Things are always more volatile and unstable than we think.
Example of digital security. People seem quite complacent about all of this stuff. It would be easy to give up if you were trying to be an innovator in this space, but that’s not the right way to approach it.
Gladman spoke to Emil (Tom?) Frei about his work on leukaemia – was there ever a time when you were scared for your job? Sure, he had 3 small children, his wife didn’t work. Why’d you keep doing it? I had no choice. Once the innovator identifies the problem and figures out the solution, there’s nothing anyone can do to get in the way.
Kevin Kelly (Founding editor of Wired) takes the stage
He wants to talk about the next 25 years of technology.
If you want an answer, you ask a machine. Answers are free. Imagine the internet in 25 years time as a conversation. 1 answer creates 2 new questions. In a way, science is expanding our ignorance (more questions than answers) faster than it is our knowledge. A good question is the sign of a great education – a good question liberates answers and even better questions.
1. Artificial power (stream power, motors, electric power)
You could take something that was manually done, add artificial power, and then you get a new thing (industrial revolution). Now we’re taking artificially powered things and adding AI – the second industrial revolution
IQ as a service – flowing like electricity
Next 10000 startups = take X, add AI
What would you do with 1000 minds?
2. Maximum interaction with devices by going inside them via VR
- Mixed Reality (augmented) – great for education
- The internet of experiences
- VR works on a different part of our brains – you don’t see stuff, you experience it
- Experiences as the new currency, telepresence
- The most amazing things in these experiences are other people
- “VR will be the most social of social media”
- What makes great experiences?
3. Uber – no cars, Facebook – no content, Alibaba – no inventory, AirBnB – no real estate
Access is more important (e.g. Spotify or Netflix). “Access is better than ownership”
- Instant access
- Rapid delivery
- Immediate manufacture
- Constant upgrades
What can be accessed rather than owned?
4. IoT – everything we make has intelligence and communication embedded in it. Sharing economy. Nowhere near peak sharing.
- Social Platforms
Facebook – 1.5B connections. Wikipedia is an example of scalable collaboration.
One financial heartbeat? One global economy?
The new machine
- 1 quintrillion transistors
- 55 trillion links
- 20 petahertz refresh rate
- 275 Exabytes memory
- 100 billion clicks per day
What can you do with a billion people and their machines simultaneously in real-time?
We are at the birth of the beginning
The greatest products of the next 20 years have not been invented yet – so you’re not too late.
Tien Tzuo (zuora) takes the stage
Innovation in the subscription economy
- There has never been a better time to innovate
- in the last 15 years, 52% of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared
- General Electric – from light bulbs to digital services
- IBM – from punch card tabulators to cognitive data services
Not just product companies anymore – digital, services
- Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, salesforce – the relationship-makers
- uber, Netflix, box, AirBnB – the new disruptors
What is happening?
- a 100 year old paradigm is crumbling – it’s not about the product
We have new expectations
- Outcomes – not ownership
- Customisation – not generalisation
- Constant improvement – not planned obsolescence
- We want the subscription experience #shifthappens
every industry is shifting
- $420B spent on subscriptions in the US in 2015
transformation is the opportunity – $80 trillion is up for grabs
- Traditional – Product via channels to the customer
- Now – subscriber via channels to service experience
Growth in the new world is about
- Acquiring more customers
- Lowering churn
- Increasing value per customer
This changes things
- Unit sales -> Value pricing
- Branding -> Experience
- Selling products -> Solving needs
- Unit margins -> Customer lifetime value
- Hit products -> Deep relationships
ERP systems were built for the past – can’t help you innovate. Can’t help you
- Iterate on pricing;
- Design great experiences;
- Sales rep solve needs;
- Calculate customer lifetime value; or
- Help build a subscription economy.
That’s why they built zuora – turn your customers into subscribers. Transform your business around them. So you innovate for the next 100 years, today.
Discussion Panel to close off
Uber and self-driving cars as a case study in innovation. Is Uber innovative because their CEO is disagreeable? Or are they going to be overtaken?
Malcolm – the innovation hasn’t started. Taxi service on your phone. What has happened so far is the easy part.
Tien – Taxi hailing service like Amazon is just a shipping service. There’s a set of intelligent technology behind moving people from point A to point B.
Kevin – there was some disruption from Uber, based on the politics, outcry that came from that. But it’s just the beginning.
Aarti – Uber re-organising the relationship between boss and labour. What are we learning about Uber as a labour story?
Kevin – social media as a whole is less than 2000 days old. We have a tendency to learn about things by thinking about things. Sometimes we need to learn from experience (e.g. Wikipedia)
Malcolm – the harder disruptive stuff still hasn’t happened. Labour? Think about GM? A lot of energy spent on the care of current and former employees – unions, healthcare, government relationships, social management. A lot of startups don’t have that social expertise. Do they need it? They’re going to run into the difficulties faced by old economy companies.
Aarti – when will we see level 3 or 4 self-driving?
Kevin – 5 years. That’s what the car companies are saying.
Malcolm – what about when all the cars are autonomous. We have protection because of humans. We can change the cars once we remove the human element.
Aarti – is this complicated? Keep the driver alive? Keep the pedestrian alive?
Kevin – there’s a whole emerging field of ethics around this. Trying to work out some consensus.
Aarti – Debate?
Kevin – yes it is. Ethics are uneven and inconsistent with humans. Hard to teach to cars.
Aarti – do they embed the limitations or make us better?
Kevin – like having kids, make us better.
Malcolm – e.g. Army – rangers vs green berets. Each organisation has a culture and an algorithm for solving a problem. It gets super complicated super fast.
Kevin – who do you want to decide this?
Aarti – DoT inserted themselves into the conversation. Suggested companies share their proprietary data on crashes.
Tien – Entrepreneur’s view – What is the smallest step that you can take now in the end game?
And that’s a wrap. Nice way to close out the event. 4.5 stars.
[image courtesy of Jon Klaus]