November 21, 2016

How Silicon Valley Thinks

While there are many important hubs of technology and innovation, the epicenter of the tech universe leading the charge in global technology is still Palo Alto and the region known as Silicon Valley.So just how do they think out there? The Atlantic magazine recently ran the results of their third annual Silicon Valley Insiders Poll, titled “The View from the Valley.” Here are a few highlights...

  • Question: “What’s the most Silicon Valley-ish thing you’ve ever seen someone say or do?” Answer: “Taking a Lyft to your Tesla, which is Luxe valet-parked."
  • 33% of respondents said ride-sharing, especially Uber, is the one tech invention of the past five years that has most improved the quality of their lives.
  • 38% of respondents said "never/not in my lifetime" on the topic of when more white-collar Americans will telecommute vs. coming to an office.

But the one answer that really got my attention was in response to the question, “Which company will be the first to bring a fully driverless car to market?” 65% said Tesla, 13% said Google, 6% said Mercedes-Benz and 6% said Uber.Think about that—the potential future of cars is not being led by a car company (no, Tesla is not just a car company, it’s a technology, design and energy company). That's almost as outrageous as the future of photography being overtaken by a company that makes phones.So why hasn’t General Motors learned the hard lessons from Kodak's demise? Car companies make cars—they don’t make automated, computerized robots powered by AI and supported by a completely different business model. In other words, a driverless car.It’s the same reason the “horseless carriage” manufacturers didn’t lead the automotive revolution.Sure, GM just paid $1 billion for Cruise, an automation technology developed by a 30-year-old Silicon Valley brainiac and they have a deal with Lyft—but who are you betting on?This isn't just another cautionary tale of disintermediation or disruption. It's about getting outside of our own heads, our own self-interests and our own business models. It’s time to start paying attention to this great Jack Welch quote:"If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."The only end that should be near for us is the end of the thinking that limits our perspective, potential and prospects. By thinking differently, we will invent our own future.What are you waiting for?

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