The Binary District Summer talks programme in Moscow is in full swing and this time it’s even more interesting. But before we go any further into describing how the discussion went, let’s get something out of the system. Blockchain, bitcoin … this is the last time you will see these two terms in this article!
The ‘Digital Evolution of Business’, which was the topic for discussion, for sure encompasses the two aforementioned technologies, but it doesn’t just end with them, in fact, they are just a small (even though an important) part of where the global business is heading towards.
Here are the most interesting points made during the discussion:
- New and better ways of doing things.
“I, Charles can do something better than you, even though you’ve done it before”.
According to Charles Adler, the co-founder of Kickstarter, this is in our human nature, as people search for new and more efficient ways to perform the same task that was done before them.
That’s what also drives the creative ideas such as Airbnb and Uber, which to an extent have reinvented the wheel even though they have not come up with an entirely new product.
- People change, so does their behavior.
Rambler&Co Executive Rafael Abramyan: “User changes really fast”.
Rafael also believes that boundaries are now becoming erased and in the media industry where his company operates, these are long gone. According to him, people want to do things in a very particular way now, such as the consumption of content that would push users to pick a particular brand of news or events aggregator that would bring them tailored content based on their interests. People are also less likely to use computers for the entertainment purposes as some platforms have gone fully mobile.
VEON’s (VimpelCom) VP for Digital Development George Held shared his own example of this when talking about how his Telecommunications company utilizes chatbots in order to serve the customers, which is more satisfactory for them as well as being more efficient for the business. This became possible due to a development system where a firm starts off with the core assets and then adds more layers to them to build, calling it a wedding cake. Those layers make the product more exciting and sustainable while addressing the new environment.
Charles also pitched in with the expertise from his field saying that Kickstarter has not gone through an abstraction stage as of yet. However, he is sure that such a time will come in 10 or 20 years, and then the company management would need to sit down and think of ‘why we are in the business?’
- Big data, the future of predicting
George:“My big data guys jokingly say that they can predict when the girl is gonna dump her boyfriend, three days before she actually gonna dump him.”
He clarified that to do that, telecoms don’t even have to listen to the calls or read messages, as this data comes from the usage statistics or behavioral patterns. VEON’s VP went on saying that such technology can also be used to help the firm build high street stores as they can analyze the movement of people in a given area. Furthermore, the data can outline which type of store needs to be built, what time it should be opened and what time do people need to be on shift.
- Communication across companies.
All three participants in the panel discussion along with the moderator Max Seddon of the Financial Times then discussed the extensive need for constant communication within an organization in order to develop technologies.
Charles said that a business needs to be similar to a pool with water where the information has to flow between the departments without any obstructions. George added to this by saying that the firm needs to invest in a culture of communication in order to bring everyone to the same thinking paradigm. Rafael summed it up by saying that firms sometimes tend to create separate ventures in order to avoid mixing of the ideas and cultures in one same place, which according to him is not beneficial and accounts for PR rather for a desire to move forward.
Rafael also summed up with a thought that how businesses operate has nothing to do with PR anymore but rather with the survival and being able to continue operating for the decades to come.