WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us

The book review for this week is What’s the Future by Tim O’Reilly.

O’Reilly outlines the process he uses to understand and successfully identify developing trends that will make an impact in the future. He explains how to build this set of tools and mindset in yourself and in your organization. There are many great examples and personal stories provided to illustrate the concepts that he is teaching.

The last section of the book identifies a number of societal shaking trends that are developing and how we can position ourselves and our businesses to leverage these trends successfully.

My takeaway from this book is what O’Reilly calls the business model map for the new economy which consists of the following seven components outlined below and shown in his graphic:

Is Your Business Missing Out on Valuable Opportunities?

Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Facebook get much of their value through the use of Multisided Platforms (MSPs).

MIT Sloan define a multisided platform as “technologies, products or services that create value primarily by enabling direct interactions between two or more customer or participant groups.” For example:

  • Apple connects app developers with iPhone users who have a need for the functionality that the app provides.
  • LinkedIn connects professionals, recruiters, and advertisers.
  • Microsoft uses Windows to connect users, third party app developers, and third party hardware manufacturers
  • Amazon and Alibaba connect sellers of products with a vast set of users that want to buy products.
  • AirBnB connects building owners with people needing to rent space.
  • Uber and Lyft connect drivers and passengers.
  • American Express, Visa, Paypal, and Square connect merchants to consumers.

MSPs are a very valuable and viable business model that creates value by reducing search or transaction costs for all participants.

Is your business leaving money on the table by not leveraging an MSP approach? Or, worse yet, are you leaving your business vulnerable to competition who have determined a unique MSP offering that threatens your existence?

What can you do to leverage the MSP strategy and how can you implement it in your business?

The 11 Commandments of Business Success

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, knows a thing or two about business success. LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and sold in 2016 for $26B USD. Not a bad rate of return for “only” 14 years of work!

Prior to LinkedIn, Hoffman was involved at Apple, started SocialNet.com, and was an integral part of Paypal’s success and its subsequent sale to Ebay. Hoffman knows business so when he shares some of his husiness secrets, we should all take notes!

Recently, he spoke about 11 components to his success on Timothy Ferriss’ podcast (episode 248). Although he calls them commandments of start up success, they apply equally well to any successful business. I have been able to apply each of these commandments in any business that I have been involved with. Doing these 11 things well will definitely accelerate your business!

I have listed each of the 11 commandments below along with my brief commentary on each point.

Reid Hoffman’s 11 Commandments of Start Up Success

Action Beats Strategy

Strategy without action is just hot air. You cannot strategize your way to success. You must take action and execute the strategy to see any results!

As Brad Feld and David Cohen stated in their book Do More Faster, “David didn’t beat Goliath with a whiteboard.” David beat Goliath by picking up some ammo (a few round stones), taking aim with his slingshot, and hitting Goliath in the forehead with a well-placed “kill-shot!”

This is strategy in action!

It is way too common for business leaders to “whiteboard” a strategy and then never implement it. They simply fail to translate their vision into actionable steps.

So, throw away your whiteboard and take some action!

Implement Your Strategy

6 D’s to Exponential Growth

Peter Diamandis knows about exponential growth and business success. He is a pioneer in the fields of innovation, commercial spaceflights, and incentive competitions. He is also the founder of the XPRIZE Foundation and Abundance 360!

So, when Diamandis speaks about business, innovation, or exponential growth, everyone should take note!

Recently, Diamandis published a brief newsletter outlining the “6-D’s” to exponential growth. These 6-Ds are the six main phases that an idea, product, or technology pass through on their way to making a massive culture impact.

For example, the following 6D technologies have had a huge impact on society: