I have long believed that digital transformation allows enterprises to quickly recognize and adapt to market transitions – which is key to gaining market share and breaking away from competitors. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the grand work-from-home experiment has further demonstrated the benefits of a digital-first mindset. Companies that already had the digital infrastructure in place were able to move their operations from one or more central offices to employees’ homes overnight.
As I wrote in my book Connecting the Dots, trust is one of a company’s two most important assets (the other is information). For a company looking to lead a market transition, establishing trust is a bit like the old chicken and egg dilemma: The company can’t earn trust without customer validation, yet they can’t get customers without first establishing trust. This is exactly why the hardest customer to land is always the first – and why, at the end of the day, successfully navigating the delicate balance of trust becomes vital to survival.
As a mentor, investor, and longtime player in the tech industry, I’m frequently asked which market segments I’m betting big on over the coming decade. My knack for spotting market transitions and the technologies that will fuel these shifts partially stems from my relentless focus on outcomes. That’s why I approach investing like a multiplayer chess game; I play out the entire game, replay various scenarios and anticipate others’ moves before I make the decision to invest my time and resources.
Ten years ago, I would have said that voice was an interface of the past. Yet today, the voice revolution is well underway and it’s becoming clear that voice will, in fact, be the next major interface. Just look at the proliferation and capabilities of virtual assistants and voice-activated devices, whether it’s asking Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo to turn down the thermostat, having Google Home recite your schedule for the day, or instructing Apple’s Siri to read your emails out loud. While nearly one in five Americans has access to a smart speaker today, Gartner predicts that 75 percent of households in the U.S. will have smart speakers by 2020.