I recently had the pleasure of listening to business and technology visionary Leonard Brody at the Gartner CIO Summit. What a fascinating session. He is an award-winning entrepreneur, venture capitalist, bestselling author, and two-time Emmy-nominated media visionary. Brody is now a partner with Creative Artists Agency among other interests. He was previously Co-CEO and a Director of NowPublic which was one of the pioneers in citizen journalism and quickly became one of the largest news agencies in the world. He is also a Venture Capitalist and acts as an advisor to venture capital funds in the US, Europe and Asia. So when Brody spoke, I listened. He has one over-riding message: Move away from the idea of a singular innovation … and toward the idea of The Great ReWrite … it is what we are living right now, in real-time. Everything is undergoing dramatic transformation … individuals and companies have to be part of it, even create it or be lost in it’s wake. Technology advancing at lightning speed underlies all of this. Brody knows all of this first-hand. His uncle was the late Izzy Asper, who once controlled the CanWest media company with more than $6 billion in revenue, ultimately dwindling to become a shadow of its former self. Brody authored his new book in partnership with Forbes magazine. It’s entitled The Great ReWrite. In Brody’s words, “The changes coming will ripple across industries and institutions, fundamentally changing the way our species lives. For the first time in the history, social media means we own our own communication at mass scale on a global level.” More than a billion additional people will come online in the next 24 months. This is the single largest event in history. The result is that we are in a perfect and growing storm and everything is being rewritten. Brody believes that humans have become bifurcated. We have two beings: One physical and one virtual. We spend 65% of our time in our virtual self. We operate differently in these two environments. The biggest difference is trust. We are more trusting in the virtual world. Sixty-six per cent of marriages will result from connections made online. Throughout his presentation, Brody presented a blizzard of numbers that spoke volumes about the change around us. In nine years Tesla has grown to the have the largest market capitalization of the North American car companies. The Chinese company Alibaba sold more than $20 billion online in a single day. Outcomes we couldn’t have imagined even a few years back. This is a time of incredible opportunities for each of us … certainly for CFOs and CIOs. Innovate. Map the DNA of your business to the world around you. Hire startup people … they look for what’s possible. Companies need to create their own companies around them to challenge the mother company. Example: Match.com. It couldn’t invigorate its existing product. So it created Tinder. The result: When Match went public 60 per cent of its value was attributed to Tinder. At VersaPay, we are constantly encouraging our clients to look at their business in new ways, … innovation in a company’s financial operations and the ways in which they serve their customers is fundamental to their growth and future success.
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