It’s no surprise that technology is shaping the world, but it’s changing our worldview too. And no, I’m not talking about Google glasses (or contact lenses).
Earlier this week five of the tech industry’s leading executives took the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Their panel opened the conference whose theme was “Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business.”
Sound boring? Trust me, it wasn’t.
While Nobel laureates and professors used to be the stars of Davos, they have had to yield the stage to tech celebrities. This year’s cast: Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Cisco’s John Chambers and British Telecom’s Gavin Patterson.
These leaders talked not about starvation in Africa or the unrest in Kiev, but Benioff’s Fitbit, Mayer’s iPhone, Stephenson’s bandwidth and Chambers' IoT sales pitch (which is currently on world tour.)
These things, or the concepts behind them, impact our lives and our world. And they, or things like them, are creating the digital economy, where data may actually be the new gold.
Here’s why we think so.
Fundamental Changes as Shown by a Fitbit
During the panel, moderator George Colony, of Forrester Research, asked the execs which personal technology had changed their lives the most.
Benioff picked Fitbit over his Phillips toothbrush.
I lost 30 pounds wearing the Fitbit; I do 10,000 steps a day. But here’s the amazing thing: Last week I got a call from Michael Dell. He asked if I’m feeling okay. ‘Why?’ I asked him. ‘I’m worried about you,’ he said, ‘because I’m your friend on the Fitbit network and noticed you hadn’t worked out in the last three days and wanted to make sure you’re okay.'"
Benioff then explained that he had had a cold and joked that Dell was in his Fitbit “business” because of his competitive nature; but all kidding aside, he made an important point:
Here I am a public company CEO and people know if I have a cold. People are maybe going to know my heart rate, glucose level. The personal enlightenment you get from this technology today is so awesome but what does it mean when everyone knows everything? That call from Michael changed my view.”
And while there’s privacy to consider (we’ll address that at a later time if you tell us there’s interest) for marketers, data like Benioff’s opens a very valuable window. Nike, if it’s watching Benioff’s footsteps should know when he’ll need a new pair of shoes. If Benioff lived in a cold climate and he wasn’t exercising, a gym could invite him in for a jog on the treadmill and then sell him a membership. And so on ….