Late last month I was asked by the fine folks at Roseville Chamber of Commerce to speak at their annual capstone event, Roseville 2018. They requested that I speak on the topic, “Technology and your Business.”
What an interesting topic, I thought to myself.
So I proceeded to let my mind wander…
How can I come up with a talk on such a subject without sounding like a pompous POS? My tactics:
- Review my favorite technologists’ thoughts
- Steal all of their ideas
- String them into a narrative
- Share some practical takeaways
Below are the talking points that came up:
Robots are taking over and we are all doomed
"That darling, is the sound of fools fiddling while the whole species starts to burn - and the funniest part? They lit the match..."
Note to self: The Westworld reference did not connect with the crowd at Roseville 2018.
Just kidding (sorta, I hope)
We need to define “Technology”
What is technology? Before reading “What Technology Wants,” by Kevin Kelly I probably would have answered: smartphones AI, Blockchain, synthetic biology, or something along those lines. After reading that book, my view on the matter has broadened.
Do you consider language technology?
Wikipedia says that,
“Technology is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal or perform a specific function.”
I think it's pretty easy to justify that language fits within that definition.
It has provided us a platform for several subsequential breakthroughs that led us to where we are today, back from the days of pre-language homo sapiens.
To think about where things are going we need to look to the past
Again, stolen from Kevin Kelly, below is a timeline of key technological breakthroughs. These breakthroughs are all revolutionary and provided new resources and momentum which have enabled subsequential breakthroughs.
We are one with the technology
Today, language is synonymous with humanism. We’ve taken it in and merged with it, along with several of the past technological breakthroughs.
We have been co-evolving with technology since the beginning.
Example: We are literally putting electrodes into our brains
It’s a mind-boggling concept, and even more mind boggling when you dig in and realize that it’s actually here: Elon Musk’s new company will puts electrodes into your brain so you can communicate with computers and via your mind. Learn more about Elon Musk’s Neurolink here: https://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html
"The thing that people, I think, don't appreciate right now is that they are already a cyborg." - Elon Musk
There are inevitable forces of technology
Stolen from Kevin Kelly again. Below are inevitable forces of technology that are happening today, and mostly at their infancy.
Take a moment to meditate on them. Can you imagine where these forces are taking us.
Part two: Your Business
There has never been a better time to start and run a business than now
You have more access to knowledge, tools, resources than any entrepreneur in the past.
Seriously, check out this awesome list of startup tools, put together by Steve Blank: https://steveblank.com/tools-and-blogs-for-entrepreneurs/
Most importantly, we have developed refined methodology how to start a business. Think of it like the scientific method meets innovation.
The scientific method of entrepreneurs
A life altering experience for me was when I met Mark Randall, Chief Innovation Officer at Adobe, while enrolled in the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy, back in 2011. Mark introduced me to Lean Startup and Design thinking methodology. He shared stories of how he's used these frameworks to launch and grow multiple businesses. Probably more importantly, how he's used this framework to properly kill several bad business ideas before they sucked too much time and money.
Through design thinking, you learn how to come up with ideas, test them, validate, them, and leverage that data to launch products that you already know people want.
Think of the scientific method, but for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Key design thinking resources:
- Stanford Design School
Hacker Lab is a playground to experiment and launch your business
In the next part of the talk I shared a bit Hacker Lab works, the resources we provide (coworking, makerspace, training and education) and the types of success stories we’ve witnessed (Waitr gets acquired for 300M). Hacker Lab is a magical place where anyone can bust through the status quo and create something new. Whether its a personal hobby project or a new device that helps millions, success comes in many shapes and forms. To us its all about creating lightbulb moments and providing a pathway for continual growth. Stop by any time and take a tour!