'twas fun while it lasted, but 2019 is the Year of Cold Turkey (Xmas hangover rant warning)

December 26, 2018 | Phil Fersht

Remember when Amazon, Apple and Microsoft were racing to become the first $1 trillion valued firms?  In just a few weeks they all languish in the $600m-$700 range.  That’s a market decompression from a high never quite seen before, and it seems that the floodgates are now fully open, as political uncertainty (driven by colossal political egos and selfish self-interest in both US and UK), combined with a sentiment of “surely it’s time for a long overdue recession”.  In short, the markets are having a correction and our economic outlook is being clouded by political uncertainty.  Noone is better than talking themselves into a recession than the human race.

We should have just let the robots take over and go with the flow

In the past, when we arrived at a market correction, we’ve quickly shrugged off the over-exuberance that engulfed our lives and focused ourselves quickly on the realities of keeping our jobs and conserving our cash.  This time I am not so confident society is ready for a cold turkey experience of, heaven help up, reality

This time, all those lovely pictures of robots and repetitive marketing messages that all seemed to have emanated from one festering camembert-infused Shutterstock site, have combined to send too many of us in a fantasy maze of artificial nonsense, from where many of us will fail to find a way out. 

 So why couldn’t we have all just stayed there, inhaling this pungent odor of future fantasy, until our tech stocks exploded in that sea of $millions, where we could just retire and let that next generation worry about fixing the stagnant world we left behind?  Why have we become the ones who have to learn from our own mistakes and try and fix them? 

Why does anyone have to be held accountable for anything anymore?  Isn’t that the new mantra of the workplace?  I thought the future of work was “no work”?

Don’t worry – you can (somehow) bring yourself back from your digitally-transformed, robotically-automated and ML-infused unreality – all made possible by that blockchain fantasy, where, if all else fails, magic will, ultimately, provide the answer.  You can do it, it’s hard, but you can lock yourself in a padded cell and let the digital delirium slowly subside into a silly dream.  “Remember that time we all thought robots were taking over” will be a good old topic down at the bingo hall as you reflectively look back at the AI careers that never quite materialized with your old cohorts who also dragged themselves back from digi-blivion.

The Bottom-line: Accept it was fun while it lasted, but it’s time to peel back the layers of bullshit and find those core attributes that used to make you successful.  

It’s time to be honest with yourself – you never even bothered to actually define what digital transformation really was, beyond positioning yourself as someone with disruptive DNA.  And you never really knew more about RPA beyond the endless posts and blogs about those stages of “maturity” you need to go through (even though you’ve never actually met anyone who knows much about RPA than those really smart software salesmen).  Did you even bother to put yourself through the basic training of writing a script – or was that all a bit beneath someone of your undoubted prowess? 

And you’ve probably started to bleat on about Machine Learning and AI as if this was somehow your true calling in life, ever since daddy bought you your first train-set and you demanded he return it to fund your python course instead. 

Yes, folks, those heady days where you had already made it without barely even bothering to fake it are over.

So dig deep and remember what made you great in the first place… and sure you can identify with at least one of these five attributes:

  1. You may have been an amazing communicator… so learn how to articulate your firm’s true differentiation in plain English. What is it you bring to the table that your competitors cannot?  How can you siphon through the buzz-talk to articulate real value, not fake value, because in the new reality, the focus will be on the real, not the fantasy.
  2. You may have been awesome at numbers… then learn to create metrics that matter to your business to prove the value of doing things. Demonstrate how man-hours saved equates to impact on top/bottom line.  Quantify the impact on customers when you fix a process chain that includes fulfilling a customer need.  Quantify the impact on growing a business by speeding up the cash flow cycle, such as people and tech investments to get ahead of customers.
  3. You may have been awesome at selling… the get back to selling solutions people will actually buy, as opposed to solutions you want your next prospective employer thinks you can sell. Being great at sales will be even more in demand as the need to actually close business quickly supplants the need to promise future deals that most people realize are unlikely ever to happen.
  4. You may have been terrific at relationships… so get back to getting to know your clients better, as opposed to trying to impress them with fancy stuff they don’t really understand (and neither do you, but you know some bigger words to use). However smart and amazing we all may have become, it’s the trusting, deep relationships with your peers, colleagues, and customers which will make you successful.
  5. You may have been a terrific bullshitter… so find those remaining viable AI and blockchain firms still functioning and blowing their seed capital, and get a sales or marketing job fast!

Posted in: Robotic Process AutomationIntelligent AutomationBlockchain

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1 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Sankar
    Posted Dec 27, 2018 10:22 AM | Permalink Reply

    True that. BS on digital and AI and such is over. Stop inventing new nonsense terms like “hyper aware digital”. Stop showing fancy digital agency photos . 2019 is about the real things - scale, differentiation on geography and domain, business value on solution, serious cost takeout and run better outcomes for client. 2020-24 will be even more real.

  2. Eric Hagen
    Posted Dec 26, 2018 12:46 PM | Permalink Reply

    Mmmm... cold turkey sandwiches!

  3. Chuck
    Posted Dec 28, 2018 09:31 AM | Permalink Reply

    Hilarious! Can you write one when you're drunk too =)

    Chuck

  4. Jitendra
    Posted Jan 17, 2019 05:57 PM | Permalink Reply

    Love those hard hitting points.

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