The future belongs to the geeks…

Nobody else wants it.

This is without a doubt one (of many) personal favorites out of all the cartoons Hugh MacLeod has created in the past x years.

I think there’s a lot of simple truth in this one. Every day/week/month I see innovation that impacts the business I am in and which found its origin in technology, software development or something like it. And then I’m not only talking about pure technology innovation but also about innovation of business processes, creative thinking, etc.

An obvious one is about how technology is driving change in the media landscape. And then especially when you think about how long existing ‘traditional’ media are transforming, not just the new media that gets added. Particularly the interactive tv experience is something that fascinates me a lot recently. In this domain several big players are active – television manufacturers, service providers, content networks, … – and yet somehow I believe the main innovation will come from outside, from a few geeks in the corner that will really create a richer tv experience using a tablet device or whatever. They can think without bounderies of current business processes, revenue management, … no old business models to try to protect. There’s a lot of cool stuff out there already.

Another recent example of technology driving change, and this time in business thinking is Agile Strategic Planning, really interesting stuff if you ask me. This whole idea is an answer to changing consumer/brand needs but is based on a concept that has been used (by some) in software development for almost 10 years now. Neil Perkin used the following quote in a recent post while trying to explain the need for this agile thinking:

“Our structures need to be more speedy. Speed used to kill now lack of speed kills. Lets have organizations that can iterate quickly and empower its folks to make decisions. Percolating decisions up and down an organization makes little sense”

Agile strategic development, adaptive marketing, lean planning, … all terms that highlight more or less the same thing. We have to start thinking in ways that allow for much more iterations and changes while the process is ongoing. A new kind of strategic planning that is heavily influenced by concepts developed in software development.

Just 2 examples in my area of interest that came to mind when I saw this cartoon again. But yeah, the future belongs to the geeks, I’m sure of that.

Is creativity a dirty word?

Posted in June of this year, the cartoon below is probably yet another one of Hugh’s classics. I don’t think ‘creativity’ is a dirty word for big companies, I actually believe it’s pretty popular. Still I agree with the point that Hugh is trying to make. I hear a lot of talks about ‘creativity’ at the start of a product/campaign, but once things start going it seems like creativity is the first out of the door.

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So get over to Hugh’s gallery and buy this print so you can hang it in your office ;)

Ignore everybody!

One of the perks of being unemployed is that you actually have time for a few things that you didn`t really have time for before… like reading books for instance, so that`s what I`m doing… well one of the things I`m doing – looking for work is another one ;) One book I read a couple of days ago was Hugh MacLeod`s upcoming “Ignore Everybody” of which I had received an advance copy thanks to Hugh and the fine people at Penguin Group.

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Long time ago – while reading something on Hugh`s blog – I stumbled onto a series of posts/writings that were all tagged with “How to be creative”. It was a good read, so finding out it the content was also available on a free PDF on changethis.com made it even better. More than 1 million downloads don`t lie of course, I still have a printed copy of that PDF right here. When Hugh mentioned he got a book deal on this which involved writing some extra chapters I was a bit sceptical though. I totally loved the series but all of that stuff had come about quite organically, there`s a difference when you write things when you think about them basically whenever you feel like it… or when you have to write chapters for a book. Hugh proved me wrong about being sceptical, there`s now way you could tell which chapters where there first or which ones are new, the book is rock solid. It`s an easy read in the typical style of Hugh MacLeod – unique, smart and funny – and with a good dose of cartoons in them. My favorite one in the book? Especially while jobhunting… is this one (from 2006):

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So pre-order the book now, you won`t regret.

Hugh at LeWeb 08

As I mentioned about a week ago in the ‘Blue Monster in Paris’ post, Hugh MacLeod was a regular guest at the Microsoft BizSpark and Live Mesh booth at LeWeb in Paris this year. We had agreed with Hugh to try out something different than usual and everybody who stopped by while Hugh was there could get a personal Hughcard and maybe even something more… like say a signed Blue Monster wine bottle for instance.

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It was great to see a lot of people stopped by and had cartoons drawn on business cards, wine bottles, body parts, computers, etc. All good fun and a lot of times real conversation starters, just like we hoped it to be.

Those of you that were interested in the event will all probably have read what The Guardian had to say about it, well if you did then make sure you read Thomas Crampton’s answer to that as well. Every year when I look back at LeWeb it is with the eyes of both an attendee as a sponsor. Every year there are some things that could have been better (yes it was cold, yes I liked last year’s venue more, yes we were definitely spoilt re food last year, …) and there are always plenty of reasons why I will be back next year.

It’s still one of the best conferences for networking, there’s all kinds of great content to be discovered and you just know it’ll start a conversation just like the years before. When I checked with the program manager for BizSpark or the startups that were able to show off what they got as part of that program, feedback was very good. When I checked with the Live Mesh guys, feedback was good. And quite a few people went home with a personal cartoon… yeah it was good for me. Thanks again for joining us Hugh!