Conversations with Today’s Movers and Shakers (part 1)

Alan Toman

Alan Toman

by Alan Toman, author of The WOOF Factor

During the months of June and July I began a quest to gain perspective on what has been happening in business & technology today. During that time I had conversations with over one hundred senior executives, managers, engineers, designers and developers spanning the industries of the Internet, mobile, marketing, advertising, entertainment, recruiting, e-commerce, education, energy, finance, IT, nonprofit, public relations, software, venture capital and health care.

What resulted was a document that became The Wisdom Of Observant Friends (or The Woof Factor) and what follows here and in future posts are a few of its highlights.

Social Media, Crowd-sourcing and Mobile were hot topics, but many other trends, quotes and ideas also offered real revelations. Consider the citing, by a prominent technology journalist, of Alan Kay’s statement: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”  And the 12-yr-old’s comment that defines the PGA (Post-Google Age) generation: “Who wants to read? Go to YouTube.” I couldn’t help being inspired, and I hope you will be, too.

Some of you may find this information unsurprising (in fact a few predictions that were made in the beginning of my process actually became factual news items before I finished). And for some of you this may be a simple confirmation of your own thoughts or ideas. Others, I hope, may glean some useful insights. In any case, taken in its entirety I think it’s a compelling snapshot of our world as we saw it in the summer of 2010. I hope you find something valuable in it.  — Alan Toman

Part 1:

Excerpts from The WOOF Factor: Conversations with Today’s Movers & Shakers

Trends & Ideas

  • Just-In-Time Resourcing: The virtual world is the new way of the world—get what you need, when you need it. Now.
  • On-Shoring: Youngstown, Ohio, in the middle of the Rust Belt, is transforming itself into a technology hub, turning old factories into technology centers. Because the location of a software company isn’t relevant. With its lower cost of living and burgeoning cultural and social life, Youngstown’s transformation is part of a movement referred to as ‘Rust Belt Chic.’
  • M2M: Machine 2 Machine. Investment is coming more to products than service. M2M is a wireless technology enabling machines to talk to one another. Think meter reading, home automation, digital billboards, in store signage/real-time pricing changes or electronic ‘band-aids’ that transmit your vitals signs to your doctor.  With the massive capacity that wireless operators are putting in place, we will see more and more real-time, always on, connected devices.
  • There’s a rumor that Pittsburg has been selected by Google for a test project that will deliver the fastest fiber optic network ever, with 1-gigabit speed. This is more than 100 times faster than what most of us have today: http://tiny.cc/tpg04 Considering the fact that the U.S. currently ranks 27th in the world for Internet speed, which is slower than Kyrgyzstan, Slovakia or Luxembourg, it’s about time we came into the 21st century. http://www.netindex.com/download/allcountries/

Speaking of Google, you can’t mention trends and ideas without including Google’s philosophy, written a few years ago, but as relevant today as ever:

The Google Philosophy:

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.

2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

3. Fast is better than slow.

4. Democracy on the web works.

5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

6. You can make money without doing evil.

7. There’s always more information out there.

8. The need for information crosses all borders.

9. You can be serious without a suit.

10. Great just isn’t good enough

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