The rapid advancement of technology, especially online technology, presents a multitude of challenges and opportunities. Its something I am keenly aware of as I do business with a wide range of organisations whilst also trying to launch new ideas and applications into the marketplace.
I consider myself to be pretty conversant in the latest happenings in the digital world, but even I have to ask around at times or risk missing opportunities. So I can’t even imagine how the average business owner, marketing manager or government agency must feel trying to keep up with such a rapidly changing environment.
The roll-out of the National Broadband Network only increases the need for knowledge in order to understand its implications and opportunities.
What we desperately need is someone who can help connect the dots.
- Someone neutral and knowledgeable who can point us in the right direction.
- Someone who is talking to government agencies and knows where funding is available.
- Someone who can help advise organisations about putting together good tenders and inviting the right people to pitch.
- Someone passionate enough about the industry and region to identify opportunities and help them to fruition
- Someone who can help provide training options to those who need it.
Fortunately in Newcastle we now have that someone, Gordon Whitehead aka @the_git.
And that brings me to a significant announcement. After 6 years at Sticky, Gordon is moving to a new role that has evolved from his founding of The Lunaticks. The project is called Digital Newcastle and Gordon will be doing all the above and more.
He’ll be connecting the dots between government, government agencies, local business, education, start-ups, digital agencies and services providers.
To be clear: this is a new role with a different organisation and totally independent of Sticky.
I’ll be signing on as a sponsor of Digital Newcastle and I encourage other agencies to sign on as well. Collectively we’ll all benefit from this initiative and it will only be truly effective if the right dots are being connected.
I’d like to congratulate to Gordon on this exciting new role. Already he has garnered considerable support from local government and business groups, and I urge all Newcastle and Hunter businesses and agencies to support him so he can help the entire region flourish in this burgeoning digital economy.
How Social Media Activity Impacts Organic Search Rankings
Can social media activity impact organic search rankings? We often hear that it can but this recent study set out to prove it with a simple test. Tasty Placement in Austin, Texas ran the study then designed this nice infographic to hep make sense of the current relationships between social media activity and search engine optimisation.
Note: US data only.
A few weeks ago I posted that no industry was immune to the rapid pace of change in our modern interconnected society. I strongly believe that some current industries will be turned upside down by the arrival on the National Broadband Network and borderless labour.
Now a new report by IBISworld’s Phil Ruthven, A Snapshot of Australia’s Digital Future to 2050, lists the winners and losers of what it calls “the new utility” – ubiquitous high-speed broadband.
Ruthven says Australia must shift from exporting its natural resources to exporting so-called “developed resources” – health, education, tourism and business services, and identifies seven broad industry sectors that will benefit from this “hyper digital era”.
The main beneficiaries appear to be government and public safety programs such as emergency and disaster response services, followed by online retail and the mining industry.
However, Ruthven also says that of 509 industries in Australia, 15 – nearly all in traditional media, publishing and broadcasting – are likely to disappear unless they can reinvent themselves.
The industries he identifies as facing “extinction” include: book, magazine and newspaper publishing and retailing; radio and television broadcasting; reproduction of recorded media; and film processing.
Its a trend we’ve seen for the last 15 years. If the medium is easily digitalised then the industry is at risk. It started with music, then moved onto books and movie and TV downloads. Its one of the reasons Fairfax is trying to cut costs and job losses are an unfortunate symptom of these changes.
A recent presentation by Mary Meeker which explained the “re-imagination of everything” is a great pointer to what has happened and who will be affected going forward.
The report says that traditional retailing will decline in the coming decades and much wholesale trade may also disappear.
Mr Ruthven says that Australia has been slow to adopt high-speed broadband and benefit from the digital economy, and the major obstacle is scepticism.
“Because I think there’s been so many naysayers out there suggesting we don’t need it, which is it a bit like saying ‘dirt roads were quite adequate 50 years ago, who needs a sealed road and a four-lane highway?’” says Ruthven.
The report also predicts that one in four people will be working from home at least part-time by 2050, something that futurist Mark Pesce elaborated on.
“The idea of employment, as in a job that lasts for more than a few days or a few weeks, is going to be this very weird term by 2050. Our grandkids will go up to us and say, ‘You had a job and you did it for years at a time?’”, says Pesce.
“That much connectivity in the economy creates this enormous capability for fluidity, and so jobs are going to start to become gigs and those are going to start to become tasks, and eventually we’re all just going to be doing a little bit here and a little bit there and it may not be until we get up in the morning and check the smartphone that we’re going to be knowing what we’re going to be doing that day.”
Pesce feels that the employment market of 2050 is “going to look a lot more like eBay then it does like Seek.”
All are expected to be replaced by their online or digital equivalents.
Tweets worth keeping14Jun12
The Twitter stream flows pretty quickly and sometimes its hard to find the good information amongst the banter before it disappears from view. Here’s a selection of tweets…and more importantly the links….I’ve read or shared in the last week that are worth keeping (also a bit of an experiment in link longevity).
- Clutter is Killing Digital Media: Study proves that uncluttered web pages make ads work better buff.ly/KQvLan #socialmedia — greg nazvanov (@gregnazvanov) June 13, 2012
- A must read post (and rant) about link building for SEO su.pr/2qiaL8 — Craig Wilson (@mediahunter) June 14, 2012
- Don’t believe all the gloom on government for start-ups bit.ly/MBHowE — Steph Hinds (@growthwise) June 13, 2012
- Not using Twitter could be more dangerous to your business than using it ever will be. Here are 8 benefits ow.ly/bvQWF — Dynamic Business (@DynamicBusiness) June 12, 2012
- Think things are stuffed? Here are 5 peeps who’ve taken the idea of bettering society into their own hands su.pr/24g5lp#fastbreak — Gavin Heaton (@servantofchaos) June 6, 2012
Want more evidence that no industry is immune from the current pace of change? Then this post is chock full of examples.
Last time I was in San Francisco I attended the Web 2.0 Summit featuring many of the web-tech industry’s biggest names. One of the best presentations was by Mary Meeker, at the time an analyst for Morgan Stanley. Mary is so good at reading the trends and industry directions that she was then poached by leading Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. In short, when Mary speaks the industry listens.
Mary has just published her 2012 Internet Trends Report and it makes for interesting reading.
But what I’d really like to share are the slides from 29-86 which cover the way technology has re-imagined so many industries in recent times. As Mary says, these are still early days, we’re still in Spring training.
The presentation also covers:
- Global Internet usage
- Mobile usage
- Mobile device evolution
- Mobile monetization transition
- Platform firehoses
- The trend of “re-imagination” of almost everything (no industry is immune)
- The economy
- US consumer sentiment
- The tech “bubble”
Ever wondered why your Twitter follower count goes up and down? Want to get a feel for what works and what annoys people on Twitter?
Thanks to Douglas for sharing it.
Why pizza eating hackers may be your biggest threat…and opportunity
I was speaking at a conference earlier this week and opened my presentation with the warning that unless businesses started adapting to the rapid pace of change in communications and technology they will be left behind. Every industry will be affected. Those who think they’re immune are kidding themselves.
My presentation followed an economic update by a leading economist who didn’t paint a very rosy picture for the next few years. Whilst Australia has managed to remain relatively unscathed by economic chaos around the world up til now, this may be about to change. With Greece and the European Union on the brink and Australian personal debt at levels much higher than the rest of the world, consumer confidence has dried up. We’re not spending and the strain is beginning to show on the economy.
This will only increase the hunger for more cost effective ways for consumers to shop and for businesses to perform. It will hasten the move to more efficient technological solutions and out-sourcing of talent.
Look no further than this week’s announcement by Fairfax that they intend to move editorial production of their regional papers to New Zealand. A favourable exchange rate and modern technology make this possible and will save Fairfax millions in wages.
Its terrible news for local papers and the employees who will lose their jobs, but its also as inevitable as the sun rising tomorrow. Ever since the Internet took away the “rivers of gold” that classified listing generated for newspapers the industry has been in decline. This was always going to happen eventually.
Its an era of change and no industry is immune.
In my presentation I showed a timeline of the big tech innovations of the last 15 years. These all contribute heavily to the way we now shop, consume media, research, conduct business and entertain ourselves:
- Google – founded 1997
- iTunes – launched 2001
- Facebook – founded 2004
- YouTube – launched 2005
- Twitter – launched 2006
- iPhone – launched 2007
- 5 Free to Air TV Channels in 2009
- 16 FTA channels today
- Then there’s Google TV and Apple TV trying to break through
…and the National Broadband Network is now rolling out….
The last 15 years have been the tip of the iceberg, more radical change is coming and every industry will be affected.
Any business that isn’t looking to move their marketing from outbound to inbound, their IT from in-house to the cloud, reconsidering human resources, or radically revising their whole business model is crazy.
Don’t be surprised when some upstart comes along with a leaner, meaner business model to interrupt your industry. There are thousands on young punks with laptops, pizza and energy drinks currently plotting your downfall. Maybe you should be hiring them instead.
It has happened to the advertising and marketing industries. It happened in a big way in the music industry. It has happened to print media. Radio is in the firing line. Television is trying to adapt quickly. Look at the travel industry…its almost entirely online now.
I had a customer tell me this week that it won’t happen in his industry because the product is big and hard to ship and assemble plus personal service is still key. I disagree. Change is already well under way. In 10 years his industry will look totally different. Probably 5 years.
The pace of change is only going to increase and a tough economy will actually help those who adapt to leaner, more efficient models. Those people will emerge as the new market leaders whilst those who resisted change will be gone…or out on their feet.
The web has grown enormously over the last decade with new media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn emerging and becoming incredibly powerful as the world becomes increasingly connected.
This infographic from the team at Customer Magnetism on the online population boom demonstrates how much has changed in such a short time.
- 92% of Internet users use search engines daily
- 65% of Internet users login to social networks daily
- 2.27 billion people are now on the Internet
- 93% of adult internet users in the USA are on Facebook
- By 2014, 53% of all US retail sales will be online
Last year I met a Belgian guy who made me insanely jealous. He was traveling the world indefinitely using social media to connect, find places, set his itinerary and generally have a great time.
Along the way he was tackling crazy challenges suggested by the online community he has fostered. Right now he is riding alone on a tandem bike from Kuala Lumpur all the way to Hong Kong. He’s trying to do the ride of more than 5000 km in 3 months.
Turns out Bjorn is a really nice guy, which probably explains why his adventure is still progressing smoothly after a few years of non-stop country hopping.
Beyond having a great time and making us office workers jealous, Bjorn is also trying to make a difference to the communities he visits along the way by helping small local charities in each area.
And that’s where you can help. I have chipped in to sponsor a few kilometers of Bjorn’s travels knowing he will help small charities along the way….and I encourage you to do the same. It doesn’t take much to make a difference in some of these communities so help Bjorn help other and then follow his adventures from the comfort of your laptop.
Here is Bjorn’s full story….
Recently I have been championing a move to hold a large innovation and tech festival in Newcastle, Australia. We’re calling it DiG. So far it has a group of people working on the concept, a website and Twitter handle. We’ve still got a long way to go.
The encouraging thing is that “from little things big things grow”. Look at this infographic from the team at Rock Sauce Studios on the rise and rise of SXSW in Austin, Texas. They only expected 150 to show up to the first year, they got 700. This year the Interactive Festival at SXSW drew over 19,000 visitors.
SXSW has been amazing for the Austin economy and a fantastic event for launching new products and services. Maybe one day DiG could have a similar effect here in Australia.