We are transitioning to a new era. From an era of switches to an era of Predictive Intelligent Convenience.
At Wayra we often meet people who are passionate to start their first business but are yet to do so because they find themselves frustratingly stuck in their hunt for the elusive brainwave-of-an-idea that will turn them into the next Mark Zuckerberg.
Having co-founded six start-ups, I’m often asked what inspired me and where I got my ideas from.
In truth, there is a different context to each of the businesses I’ve been involved in, and not all of them were my idea. The creation process is nearly always collaborative. Which is why I believe that networking is so vitally important.
Right now my inspiration is hugely influenced by my belief that we are currently transitioning to a new era. A transition that I think is more significant than any before it, and one that is happening quicker than any transition previously.
I think we are living through the momentus birth of a new era: the digital economy.
The term ‘digital economy’ means different things to different people. One of the many benefits of working for a business accelerator like Wayra is that organizations like ours give everyone a tangible glimpse of what businesses of tomorrow might look like.
It is through this lens that I look at past eras and try to extrapolate where I think we’re going from here. I tend to see things a little differently …
I think we are currently living in an ‘era of switches’. I believe that we are now about to transition into an era of Predictive Intelligent Convenience. We will soon have the capability to literally switch-off the ‘switches-age’.
I am not just referring to the type of switch featured in my photo above. (Although, who needs light-switches when your lights will sense if it’s dark and whether you are in the room?)
I’m talking metaphorically - effectively everything we do represents the flicking of a switch. For example, ‘buying a train ticket’ - ‘flick’. Buying a cup of coffee on my walk from the station to the office - ‘flick’.
We currently refer to the device in my hand as a ‘smart phone’. I find this an inaccurate description. Theoretically my phone knows:
- where I am;
- separately it knows within my diary where I next need to be;
- it theoretically knows whether the rail-network is operating on-time;
- or whether the roads are congested;
- it knows who I bank with;
- the taxi company I have an account with etc etc
It knows when I need to leave my current location in order to get to my next destination on time; which route is quickest; it could select the best mode of transport. It could even predict and fulfill my need for a cup of tea en-route.
And yet currently, disappointingly, my smart phone does naff-all to proactively help me get where I need to be. (Which is why I don’t think it’s very ‘smart’).
Perhaps all that is about to change. I think bright digital entrepreneurs have the potential to make smart-phones properly smart.
And so, if you are either: an entrepreneur; digital pioneer; product inventor; computer scientist; usability engineer; marketing expert - and you have a passion for creating a new digital business that will accelerate the declining use of ‘switches’ (both the physical and metaphorical types) - then create a start-up; build a team; design the product.
And then, apply to join Wayra.
We are currently looking for the best digital talent that has the ideas and capability to take advantage of a better-connected world.
But hurry our current call for Projects closes on January 21 2013. Click here for details.
My definition of ‘switches’: the physical act of ignition or transaction. For me the hardware associated with switches, and the act of actually switching them, represents ‘friction’.
Predictive Intelligent Convenience reduces and/or (potentially) eliminates this friction.
Let’s make switches redundant. Let’s enjoy the benefit of Predictive Intelligent Convenience.
I’m not an expert in switch technology, however, the photo is of an especially lovely example of an Edwardian switch which can be found operating the electric light located in our living room at home.