I have a lot to be thankful for this past year – my young daughter, great job, good health and all those advances in technology that have allowed me to squeeze even more fun and value out of my very hectic life. I’m talking about smart technology that frees up time from work about work, enables me to optimize my 168 (# of hours in a week) and lets me focus on the things that matter most – my family, friends, clients and personal well-being. I’m talking about being thankful for digital.
Digital is changing all aspects of our lives from how and where we spend our precious time to who we spend it with. Timothy Ferriss, the New York Times bestselling author, laid out a compelling argument in his book “The 4-Hour Workweek,” that time and mobility are the new rich. I couldn’t agree more. And although he doesn’t say it explicitly, it’s clear to me that digital technology is at the center of his hypothesis.
The industrial age taught us the only way to make money was to trade it for time. The world has changed and you don’t need to be a millennial to understand and appreciate this. A few years back I remember reading a blog post from Richard Branson that reminded me of this paradigm shift. Branson decided to give all of his employees unlimited vacation. His argument was if you give people control of their time they will be more productive and more fulfilled – and this will ultimately translate into better performance for your company. I think he’s on to something.
I talk a lot with my team and clients about doing less work about work. How can we eliminate manual processes through automation? How can we shorten this meeting from 1 hour to 20 minutes? How can we get more value out of every interaction so we can all evolve our lives in positive ways?
Digital technology is at the center of this conversation. And at the center of digital technology are four fundamental ideas:
- Personalization – Content and experiences are dynamically tailored to me based on my personal preferences and context. This leads to more relevant, high value interactions with friends, family, customers, suppliers and my co-workers.
- Engagement – These personalized experiences lead to richer engagement. Companies and institutions are listening, collecting and customizing how they interact with me. This relevant engagement ultimately leads to better service, quality and productivity.
- Prediction – Companies are getting smarter about my needs and wants. Every interaction I have online is being recorded and consolidated into a massive data set. These data sets enable smart companies to recognize patterns in my behavior, forecast my future needs and ultimately save me time and money.
- Mobility – Forget the daily commute, forget the desktop PC and forget the traditional work week. Mobile technology has transformed how I work, where I work and when I work. Arguably the biggest enabler of my personal digital revolution, life would be very different without my mobility.
So when I sit down for my Thanksgiving meal this year I’ll turn on my favorite Sonos playlist, adjust my Phillips Hue light bulbs, snap a family selfie with my iPhone and be thankful for everything digital has done for me – because digital is truly helping me become one of the ‘new rich’.