Apple cult still seems to be doing well as the release of their new iPhone X gathered hundred of thousands of faithful worshippers in front of stores all over the world to try get hold of their latest (vintage) model to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the launch of the first iPhone.

The most impressive thing for me is how people still queue up to pay $999 for it…

Is it only about the power of the brand or the world has gone completely mad?! 

The fact is that nobody is queue up to buy a Samsung, nor any other mobile brand for that matter.

If you are human you have it in you! We all have it in one shape or the other. We must reach deep and find it within…

Discover your art in those things you truly enjoy doing, learn to make a ruckus and challenge the status quo, the old conventions.

Stretch yourself, act foolish, step outside, just do it!

“Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does. Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.” Seth Godin

people centric

Traditionally companies have been seen mostly as B2B or B2C organisations, but truly, if we stop to think, there is only one way a business goes, and it is by building their people-to-people competences. If we do not stop thinking customers and consumers, staff, suppliers, partners and instead start thinking HUMANS we will miss the biggest opportunity the digital environment and online networks offer us.

When it comes to customer engagement, being customer-centric is not enough in today’s hyper-connected world. You’ve got to learn pay attention and care, LISTEN! Then speak with a human voice.

I normally define these new hyper-connected consumers with three classic British Rock’n’Roll songs: “All I need is love” (The Beatles), I can get no Satisfaction” (The Rolling Stones) and “I want it all, I want it Now” (Queen). They want all our love and care, they are never satisfied and loyalty is as good as the new offer or product to get their attention away, and hey it all now or never… (OK, but that is another song…)


What can businesses do? How communication and engagement should occur? What about transparency and openness? Humanising their activities, release internal staff to grow and develop their full potential.

It is time to rethink core business functions and redress relationships internally and externally with all parts involved in a honest two-way conversation. After all as Carnegie has expressed….

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” Peter Drucker

There’s no average in the future… With increasing  pressure to adopt  and develop digital capabilities, both people and businesses are now challenged to embrace an attitude of life-long learning and collaboration.  

The age of silo-thinking is over and yet many business departments and units, companies in all sectors and of all sizes, still insist in operating that way. We either work closely together or we die. We must get passed production and processes in order to embrace immersion and personalisation. 

Whatever way you want to stir your business or career there’s one and only truth: average is a dead game, build extraordinary experiences to add value and grab attention.

We have got to learn to bring the whole organisation within one single purpose and that is of designing superior remarkable experiences.

Average is dead for individuals as well as for corporate entities. Being remarkable, unique and special is not an option in a hyper-connected world with fast networks and way too much noise.

Inmovation is not anymore a case for those working in consumer brands, electronics, hightech products or fashion design for example. 

Ok, how many of you have ever purchased a black toilet paper? (Well, why would you ever need to that for starters?)

(Renova Factory Portugal)

I’ve recently had the privilege to visit Renova, a giant FMCG Portuguese manufacturer of napkins, tissues, tolilet papers and other paper products.

They have turned their industry and market they operate upside down taking the whole game to another level by adding a lot of colours to their line of toilet papers and other products, creating a great compelling story of personalisation with the slogan “the sexiest paper on earth” and it caught on!

Average is dead and Renova is showing a new way with a great example of extraordinary success in automation, streamlined and sustainable operations, departamental integration and customer personalition becoming a toilet paper’s love story. 

The key to survive in this day and age is by focusing on how value added innovations can help you deliver higher customer experiences no matter in which sector you operate, even for an every day boring product such as tolite papers. 

Secondly, how you build internal capabilities by integrating and rethinking traditional business functions, developing digital competences with a strong employee culture.

But it really doesn’t make sense does it? After all it is just a functional product? But, who cares? This is not the 40’s, the 60′ or 00’s, this is the age where the norm has all but disappeared and the designing of superior experiences trumps mass production even in an every day FMCGs sector.

Even though they produce in economies of scale selling to great superstores all over the world, Renova are able to customise and deliver to the individual consumers who go online to order personalised party napkins for their children.

They have learned that their core business is not to be found in the products they make, neither in the paper they sell, but the story behind the paper and how they sell and package the whole experience.

Average is mediocre, is bland, is boring!

Having something unique and packed in a beautiful luxury box sells not only tolite paper but big Mac’s too. 

Renova sells something people can identify with, give as a gift, share and laugh about it with their friends. They can post pictures online and use on their social media channels. Definitely something that is not AVERAGE but sexy and cool!

Renova have successfully humanised their brand and their image. It speaks in a language consumers understand and are happy to pay more for the whole experience.

How can you take your company or career from average to remarkable?

If you have another successful story feel free to share it here with us.

If you have ever considered doing it or have indeed consummated this innocent act though you might never admit to it; (as I have for my own embarrassment and shame)  then you might want to rethink how you are using your mobile device, or even, you whole online behaviour.

It is widely known as a fact, a given even amongst the most fierce advocate of digital technologies: Social media and social technologies are highly addictive!

Even Steve Jobs did not allow his children to play with an iPad so what else is our there to be said…. Have the great industry champions been luring us into using their cutting edge gadgetry devices, apps and social platforms in order to get us all hooked up? The great  stoic philosopher Seneca once said:

“Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk. Lucius Annaeus Seneca

iPhone-768x460

Why those ‘great tech influencers’ at the top is pushing down all these new flashy products to us mere mortals if they deny their own the pleasures of using it..

Through the development of science and technology all the advancement we have today in society came to exist. Without it, we would have never made it to the moon for example (if you believe they put the man on the moon, but that’s an argument for another day). Since our early stages of development as sentient intelligent species on this planet we have attempted to leverage the elements of nature in our favour to give us food, shelter, comfort and a sense of belonging.

In the same way digital technology have been handed down to from the techie gods as an amazing gift and tools to mankind, cultures and societies around the world bringing humans ever closer together. But that providing it does not enslave us into a box of uniformity conditioning herding us to do and become what ever they want us to be.

An article on Quartz this week mentioned a worrisome number of how many times a day mobile users are touching their phones: an alarming 2617 times and that including tapping, typing, swiping and clicking.

The article also reveals what Justin Rosenstein, who created Facebook ‘likes’ button, call them: “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure”.

Another leading whistle blower within the digital industry is former Google employee Tristan Harris who affirms that “all of us are jacked into this system” in a interview for The Guardian. He added “…All our minds can be hijacked. Our choices are not as free as we think they are.”

So, if that is true, are digital technologies taking away our voices? or veiling it under streams of fake news, algorithm manipulation that can start false public outcries, fake social accounts etc.?

What are you thoughts?

“I would rather be without a state than without a voice.” Edward Snowden

A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought-evolved being. For such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought, and as he develops a right understanding, and sees ever more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, he ceases to fuss, fume, worry, and grieve. He remains poised, steadfast, serene.”

James AllenAs a Man Thinketh

Something machines will never be able to experience… That’s innate to us humans and we must cherish in the fact that what makes us many times weak also elevate us and makes us beautifully distinct.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs

Blade Runner is a 1982 film direct by Ridley Scott which has just had its sequel released this year in cinemas around the world: The Blade Runner 2049.

The Plot: “…Set in a dystopian Los Angeles in 2019, the story depicts a future in which synthetic humans known as replicants are bioengineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies”(Source: Wikipedia)

The Reality in the 80’s: how did people see and engage with computers in those years? What did society think about them or were afraid of in the early years personal computers? How much of the digital future could they see and interpret through the lenses of films such as Blade Runner? The film depicted a reality in a future time that is today close to us, just around the corner from, in 2019.

The video above portrays the role computers were starting to have in society during those initial years in the 80’s. It also presents us with Steve Jobs views of the future, then a very young CEO and the founder of Apple computers. Jobs was incredible in foretelling to a sceptical audience what personal computers would mean to society in a near future.

Applying Jobs philosophy in the above’s quote, let’s look back to a time where a similar discussion to what we are experiencing today was already taking place. Concerns from the general public that computers would be taking their jobs, fear of loss of privacy and data security, companies implementing new automated system to improve efficiency in operations, smart payment processes, customer services and better user experiences. Sounds just like today, doesn’t it?!

‘You can’t do the simplest things today without the use of a computer’, said the reporter back in 1981. Almost 40 years later and how far have we come to understand how much more dependant we are on machines and computers. We need their help in most activities we engage in today, from our most simple menial day-to-day activities to shopping and communication needs as well as more processing complex activities?

It is said that of our smartphones which is now performing all sort of activities on our behalf (besides calling people), they are an ‘extension of humanity’, our operational system. And if it was almost inconceivable to leave home without them a few years ago, now they are also running our homes!

A 26 years-old Steve Jobs in his genius, had already foreseen this reality where computer would amplify mankind intellectual abilities wherein the impact and effects in society would far outstrip of the petrochemical revolution. But that’s is only one side of the story…

What is interesting in this video from the eighties is the realisation that people were already afraid that these ‘new’ revolutionising machines were going to take their jobs. Like in the Blade Runner movie where ‘replicants’ (fictional bioengineered or biorobotic android virtually identical to humans but much superior in many ways) where hunted down because they were seen as a menace to humans, people in those years thought that machines would eventually replace us, not much different from the talk we are increasingly listening to today.

The report asked Steve Jobs if there was any danger of these computers taking over our lives to which he just rebuffed stating that technology is just a tool to democratise society and make the experience more individual and if it wasn’t working we could just through out of the window. He also believed that machines would allow us to focus on the things we do best and release us to engage in more creative thinking instead of mechanical thinking. It would release us from the drudgeries of life so we can could focus on conceptual and creative tasks.

 

Blade-runner-directors-cut-poster-large-msg-119325148375Author David Burnham on the other hand, exposes the threat of invasion of privacy and how computer could then be used to manipulate us. This argument were contrasted by the news anchor arguing that computers, like guns, do not harm people, people do that to people. It would be then a matter of who is behind the computer or the executive order from above to engage in activities such as unsolicited data collection, mass surveillance etc… Moreover our society doesn’t seem to be alerted enough to fully understand how to use the web in a safe way, nor most members of the general public can clearly comprehend about the dangerous of loss of privacy, or the power of manipulation behind the information disseminated via social sites including how it is organised and categorised by search engines?

Burnham arguments were that the general public is not sufficiently aware to what was happening and how it was been sold on to them. That’s is something way too important to be taken lightly or dismissed. The debate on machines taking over humanity is an old one, the question is about how far have we come to really understand the true impact they will have in shaping our future.

We might still be far from the reality shown in the initial Blade Runner movie but certainly computers and technology has evolved to permeate all aspects of our lives and they are gradually replacing some of the work we do…

Thoughts???

video credit to robatsea2009 channel