Talking K-Pop, Incorta’s Founding Story, and Context-Aware Data With Some of The Most Inquisitive and Insightful Minds in Enterprise Technology
Disclaimer: The quotes below are lightly edited for length and clarity.
Last week, I had the great honor of joining Brian Solis (@briansolis) and Nicole France (@lnfrance) on DisrupTV (@DisrupTVShow) Episode 194 with Vala Afshar (@valaafshar) and Ray Wang (@rwang0) – some of my all-time favorite people in the world of enterprise tech.
This was my first time as a guest on the program and it was a truly unforgettable experience. Here are some key highlights:
Brian Solis – Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce
First up was my dear friend Brian Solis – eight-time best-selling author, international keynote speaker, digital anthropologist, and Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. He shared insights on enterprise scenario planning in the “novel economy” that is now emerging in the wake of COVID-19, the future of AI in the enterprise, the rise of AI economists, and the importance of developing a more adaptable mindset.
“When COVID-19 hit, there was no playbook. There were no best practices or case studies to follow – no ‘business vaccine.’”
“March 1st – that’s really when meter starts. Everything before then, set it aside. In the last 15 days of March, we saw a 41% adoption of digital shopping, which is huge. The idea is.. Can we build an AI futurist at the C-suite level to take this new data that’s spilling out in real time as behaviors change and identify patterns that can give insights to an executive team that does not have experience navigating a global pandemic?”
On staying curious and teachable: “I am spending time reading Ralph Steadman’s book (The Joke’s Over) and listening to vinyl.”
Nicole France – VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research
Nicole France, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, spoke with Vala and Ray about the latest trends and shifts in the world of customer experience (CX) design. Talk about someone who practices what they preach: If you’ve ever had the pleasure of talking with Nicole, you’ll know that she has an uncanny ability to frame every aspect of the conversation in your perspective, even if you’ve only just met. She is a true master. (She also has amazing food, wine, and espresso machine recommendations.)
“Everybody is dealing with totally different circumstances… but we are all realizing that we are still quite some way from ‘post-pandemic’ – we are going to be in this for a while. There are two things for certain: (1) whatever we were doing before the pandemic is not what we’re going to be doing once it’s over, and (2) how we navigate the here and now will have a huge influence on success once we get to that point.”
“Every business is really focused on maintaining and protecting customer relationships, identifying the new ones that have growth potential right now, and ensuring they can still identify new opportunities that crop up along the way. That’s a really critical element of not only surviving but thriving on the other side.”
On the topic of process automation and customer experiences: “The same shit faster is NOT better.”
Matthew Halliday – SVP of Product Strategy at Incorta
During my 20 minutes of DisrupTV fame, we talked about Incorta’s founding story, why analytics without behavior change is just expensive artwork, why context-aware data is so important, and – thanks to Liz K Miller (@lizkmiller), the Queen of Perfect Giphys– K-POP!
Perhaps most interesting was our conversation around context-aware data. Essentially, the more data you bring into the picture when trying to answer a question, the more likely you are to find a useful answer. For instance, you can’t understand a business, what drives it, or where it’s heading by looking at the data from just one department alone. You need a more holistic view. To get there, you have to bring together lots of different types of data from lots of different places. The more data you can factor in – and the faster you can do it – the better.
“At the end of the day, if you only have one piece of data and you don’t have the context of that data, it’s just a vanity metric. It’s like taking words out of context – it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t help you take action.”
“I feel like there is so much data abuse happening today. The first person who can get a chart can proclaim ‘The data says we should do this!’ And because it’s so hard to access data, nobody challenges it. That means the data doesn’t get better, richer, or more context-aware. That’s where self-service needs to go: It’s not about the visualizations; it’s about ‘Can I get access to the data in a way that serves the business outcomes, and can I measure those?’ THAT is what we need to be thinking about.”
On the question of what’s up with my interest in K-pop: “I will flip the question… The rest of the world is into K-pop. They are bigger than the Beatles. Where are you guys??”
A Breath of Fresh, Inspiring Air Every Friday
If you follow me on Twitter (@layereddelay), you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of DisrupTV, which airs live every Friday at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET on Constellation Research’s YouTube channel. The live stream is free and open to all, and draws an impressive crowd – especially on Twitter (#DisrupTV), where a lively conversation is always taking place in the background. Every week, while great minds are talking shop live with Vala and Ray, their peers are busy exchanging witty commentary and hilarious gifs on Twitter.
Quite honestly, it’s a breath of fresh air at a time when so many event organizers are trying to figure out how to run virtual conferences and trade shows in light of COVID-19. Coming up on the 200th episode, it’s clear that Vala, Ray, and the rest of the DisrupTV team are consummate pros when it comes to bringing people together virtually and facilitating live online discussions across multiple platforms.
The quality of the guests and on-air discussions is also second to none. DisrupTV attracts guests with an extraordinary spread of perspectives and experiences, from some of today’s foremost thinkers, writers, and researchers – such as Tricia Wang (@triciawang) and Rana el Kaliouby (@kaliouby) – to highly successful entrepreneurs, technologists, and leaders in business and government – such as Jay Ferro (@jayferro), Christopher Lochhead (@lochhead), and Sharon Leu (@thesharonleu).
What I love most about the program is how the guests always challenge my thinking and inspire me to see the world in different ways. For example, one of the previous week’s guests, Michael J. Sikorsky (@mjsikorsky), CEO and Co-Founder of Robots and Pencils, blew my mind with this comment about the future of organizational design: AIs don’t ask for permission, and neither does the next generation of talent in your organization – millennials. (More on that topic in a future post.)
While enterprise technology is the main focus of the program, Vala and Ray mix it up every episode. Discussions range from the issues of the week, to broader trends like data privacy and personhood, to evergreen topics like the power of storytelling. They also keep the conversations very impartial – most guests have something to sell, but they also understand that DisrupTV is not the place to do it, which is so refreshing.
This combination of guests, topics, and community is a big part of what makes DisrupTV so special. As a co-founder of a fast-growing enterprise data analytics company, I spend a lot of time attending conferences and participating in podcast interviews and other media appearances like this one. Most of the time, it drains my internal battery. DisrupTV, on the other hand, fills me up every time. It’s like a compressed weekly version of Constellation Connected Enterprise. The density of insights, creativity, and inspiring ideas is astounding.
It should come as no surprise, then, to hear that DisrupTV is one of the few shows I attend every week. In fact, I even keep a recurring calendar invite on the books so that I can watch the show and join the conversation on Twitter every week without distractions.
If you are looking to bring more insights, inspiration, community, and connection into your work-from-home routine during #COVID19, the best piece of advice I can give you is to tune in regularly and join the conversation on Twitter.
In the meantime, for additional reading material on the topics explored in this episode of DisrupTV, check out the following articles:
- Analytics Without Behavior Change is Just Expensive Artwork (InformationWeek)
- Your Metrics Are Going Haywire… Now What? (InformationWeek)
- What the COVID-19 Charts Won’t Tell You About South Korea (LayeredDelay)
- Words Matter… But Context and Serendipity Matter More (LayeredDelay)
A Look Behind the Scenes
And because everyone loves BTS, here’s what it looked like from my side of the lens:
Huge thanks to Sarbjeet Johal (@sarbjeetjohal) and Daniel Peter (@danieljpeter) for saving the day! Turns out some critical AV equipment was lost during the move to Incorta’s new HQ back in January. I went into the office on Thursday to create a makeshift studio for the show the next day and panicked. There was no way Amazon could deliver new components in time, so I put out an S.O.S on Twitter and Sarbjeet and Daniel came to the rescue!
Finally, for those who enjoy geeking out on equipment as much as I do, here’s my equipment list for last week’s DisrupTV appearance:
- Macbook Pro
- Apple AirPods Pro
- Sony A7 Series III Camera
- Sony – Sonnar T FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens
- Magewell USB Capture HDMI (Courtesy of Daniel Peter)
- Apogee One Audio Interface
- Electro Voice RE-20 Microphone
- HPUSN Softbox Lighting Kit Photography Studio Light with 20-inch X 28-inch Reflector and 2pcs 85W 5500K E27 Bulb
- Camera Tripod
- DW Drum Mic Stand (so I can easily keep it out of the shot)
- Tons of Incorta hoodies and other swag hanging around me to deaden the room acoustics
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