Digital Revolution And Start-Ups!

We can explain and understand the Digital revolution and what it means for Start-ups by finding answers to three simple questions. So, let’s get started! Let us begin by understanding what we need to learn from our past – which industries and what practices have evolved over the years.

I awe at the global frenzy on ‘Buzzwords’ but ‘Wait! Stop!’ – Digital revolution isn’t new! It has always been there, is happening more rapidly and will stay!

We’ve seen

  • Nokia days to slim sleek smartphones today
  • Phones going analogue to digital to Voip
  • Telegrams, mails to emails SMS to video chats
  • Computers shrinking in sizes
  • Software evolution – Servers to Cloud, 1 time purchases to Subscription models
  • Photography – Printed photos going Digital
  • Classroom sessions going digital based to virtual to 3D to virtual reality, Gamification to On-the-Go learning and EduTech
  • FinTech to Bitcoin, Wearables, to life saving technologies

And everything to the way we buy to the way we operate every transaction … technology evolution is part of a continuous improvement process.

However, it isn’t just the technologies that are evolving. The terminologies to supplement them are also on the move.

  • CBT (computer based technology) which is actually called as eLearning today
  • OJT (On the Job Training) which is now coined as Workplace learning
  • Marketing vs Digital Marketing practices, some of the granular things we do to create messaging, content pieces termed Content Marketing making it a giant on its own
  • Target audience segmentation termed as Customer Personas
  • Working with Change and Ambiguity in speed coined as Agile etc.

Nothing is new, the buzz words are just taking the old stuff and repackaging it or giving it a rebirth – that’s all!

Knowing these differences will surely help. Someone who has been in business industry (well I have been keeping pulse since 1993!), you will be able to tell which is really a disruption vs which isn’t!

Now that we’ve understood what’s behind us, let’s answer how this will affect or support our future. I use the word ‘Affect’ and ‘Support’ for 2 reasons:

  1. Affect – The way we operate and what are we going to offer to stay relevant
  2. Support – The effect of change to the way we operate using the newly offered tools from a consumer standpoint

We all know there are startups springing at every corner of the world today making business disruptions, challenging through new ways of innovative and creative offerings, breaking traditional way of operations, challenging status quo with big companies and breaking monopolies!

The famous Uber and Airbnb has taught us how ‘community of things’ can be a big time differentiator in the rising of the sharing economy. However as history has taught us, what is best today, isn’t necessarily going to be the best tomorrow!

After understanding the past, present and future of the Digital domain, let us answer the basic question every budding entrepreneur should keep in mind:

  1. Buzz words emerges every season – keep clarity and focus among the noise!
  1. Value addition 

Globalization has blurred work models. Cross-regional transactions and non-traditional work arrangements have become norm! Price wars with Fivers and new Apps for Starters / Dummies (example expensive Video productions simplified to core by Magisto likes of Apps and email marketing made easy and affordable by many other apps). All these making it easy for self-management and techs in competition with human contribution. Differentiation through strategic involvement and partnerships with customers is mandatory service differentiator!

  1. Continuously look for ways to Improve and Innovate– This is very important!

Continuous speed of change requires upgrade of skills to stay relevant to current trends. Investment through R&D to keep pulse to the ‘What Next!’ offering, the next game-changer to their industry to stay relevant or someone else may challenge the competitive position! Differentiate through Perception of Purchase Value and Customer’s view of their ROI! Product differentiation, Product innovation and Product design and creativity. Data Science / Business Intelligence is important for these efforts.

  1. So while continuously trying to improve, reduce complexity and keep it simple. People like simplicity in this already complex world.
  1. Human touch is a must in whatever transformation phase we are in. As start-ups, we should not forget that while we are here to add to value and customer experience through tech, we should not forget that not everything can be replaced by Artificial intelligence or Robots. 
  1. Expand your potential by collaborating through community of people and talents in Uber style.
  1. And lastly, Being a start-up today needs lots of determination, focus. Commitment and effort. Do not let your ‘Why’ die!
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