Digital Disruption significantly alters the way industries, companies, and societies operate. These groundbreaking advancements often create new markets or redefine existing ones, challenging established businesses and transforming our lives and work.
As a demonstration of this, 4.9 billion people use the internet worldwide. That’s 62% of the global population and it’s increasing at a rate of 4% every year.
On this episode I am joined by Guy Morris, an author and President of Author Event Network, and David Van Beekum, Co-Founder of Tweva, to discuss digital disruption and the impact it has on our lives.
What is Digital Disruption?
Digital Disruption is an inevitable and transformative force that has shaped the business landscape for decades. As technology evolves, businesses must adapt to stay relevant and competitive in an increasingly connected world. In this blog post, we will explore digital disruption’s past, present, and future, examining how businesses can learn from historical shifts, navigate current challenges, and embrace future opportunities.
Harnessing Digital Disruption: Transforming Industries and Creating Opportunities
The rise of the internet and email in the 1990s marked the beginning of a new era in business. These technologies democratized information, tore down geographical barriers, and enabled instantaneous global communication.
Email revolutionized communication, speeding up the flow of information and allowing businesses to make decisions more quickly. It also expanded the reach of marketing efforts and created new opportunities for customer engagement. Companies had to adapt to this new communication method or risk falling behind.
“I think the difference between innovation and disruption is when you start to see businesses fall away, business models fall away, new business models developing in their place, and you’re seeing major transitions between employment, between I used to have a skill, that skill is no longer sellable.” – Guy Morris
Similarly, the internet transformed the way businesses operated. It allowed companies to connect with customers and suppliers in real time, improve efficiencies in the supply chain, and access new markets. The internet also paved the way for e-commerce, changing the retail landscape forever.
These early forms of digital disruption forced businesses to be agile and adaptable, as the companies that couldn’t keep up faced obsolescence. Lessons from this period remain relevant today, as companies must continue to evolve and respond to new technological advancements.
“And I think as a business, you have to always keep an eye out for innovation.” – David Beekum
Adapting to Change: Strategies for Navigating the Digital Disruption Landscape
Artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies have become integral to business operations in recent years. These tools offer numerous benefits, such as automating repetitive tasks, providing real-time data analytics, and enhancing customer experiences. However, they also come with potential pitfalls and challenges.
On the positive side, AI and machine learning have helped businesses optimize processes, reduce costs, and make better-informed decisions. These technologies have also revolutionized industries like healthcare, finance, and manufacturing by improving diagnostics, fraud detection, and production efficiency.
“[In regards to AI], I think it’s that human interaction when it touches the human interaction.” – David Van Beekum
Conversely, the rapid advancement of AI has raised concerns about job displacement, privacy, and data security. As automation becomes more prevalent, businesses must grapple with potential workforce reductions and the need for upskilling employees. Data privacy issues and the ethical implications of AI are also pressing concerns that must be addressed.
“There are 1000 really incredibly great uses for artificial intelligence. The problem is that the technology is moving faster than our social awareness and our abilities to understand how to manage and control it.” – Guy Morris
While the current digital disruption wave presents opportunities and challenges, businesses that can adapt and navigate this landscape will have a competitive edge. By harnessing the power of AI and other technologies, companies can drive innovation and stay ahead of the curve.
The Human Element: Balancing Technological Advancements and Ethical Considerations in the Era of Digital Disruption
As digital disruption continues to evolve, businesses must adapt and anticipate and prepare for future changes. Here are three strategies to help organizations embrace the future of digital disruption and leverage technology for innovation:
“Keep an eye out on that latest innovation that is happening because you’re still a couple of years away from that disruptive technology.” – David Van Beekum
- Foster a Culture of Innovation: Encourage employees to think creatively, experiment with new ideas, and take calculated risks. Provide resources, support, and incentives for innovation, and recognize the value of learning from failures.
- Invest in Continuous Learning: To stay competitive, businesses must ensure their workforce is skilled in emerging technologies. Provide training and development opportunities to help employees stay current with industry trends, and encourage lifelong learning.
- Collaborate with Technology Partners: Forge strategic partnerships with technology providers, startups, and research institutions to gain access to cutting-edge tools and insights. These collaborations help businesses stay on top of emerging technologies and drive innovation.
“I would probably be looking at four things: what are my opportunities, what are my costs, what is the impact to my employees, and how does it impact my investors and shareholders?” – Guy Morris
Digital disruption has been a constant force in the business world, shaping the way we communicate, operate, and innovate
Hey everyone, thanks for listening. Digital disruption significantly alters the way industries, companies, and societies operate. These groundbreaking advancements often create new markets or redefine existing ones, challenging established businesses and transforming our lives and work. As a demonstration of this, 4.9 billion people use the Internet worldwide. That’s 62% cent of the global population, and it’s increasing at a rate of 4% every year.
Today, I am joined by Guy Morris, an author and president of Author Events Network, and David Van Beekum, co founder of Tweva, to discuss digital disruption and the impact it has on our lives. To support the show, visit chrishood.com show. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, follow us on social media or you can email me directly [email protected] I’m Chris Hood and let’s get connected.
Connecting access granted. It’s The Chris Hood Digital Show, where global business and technology leaders meet to discuss strategy, innovation, and digital acceleration. 54321 your digital evolution starts now. Here’s your host, Chris Hood.
Let’s get right into this and meet our guest. Guy, would you mind sharing a little bit about yourself? Absolutely.
My name is Guy Morris, and I came from a 36 year professional career with Fortune 100 companies, mainly in high tech global energy software companies such as IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Burrows, Occidental Petroleum, and a number of startups. I got my career started by disrupting technology. I was the first person to develop a macroeconomic model that outperformed the Federal Reserve, the Blue Chips, every single university in the nation, because I tie the economic growth and other factors such as unemployment and interest rates to what was then an innovative approach to basically tie it to technology productivity. And so that productivity wave that we rode all the way through the late seventy s and eighty s and early 90s with Paul Volcker and the other Federal Reserves were based on the model that I created. And that model got me a scholarship into graduate school, as well as accepted into Harvard Graduate School and got me my first job at IBM.
But that was the beginning. My career was really, I mean, over the last 40 years I was in business 36. But over that time frame, we’ve really had a number of disruptive technologies, from desktop computing to the Internet in general, and Internet communications that bypassed mail and the security and the problems with basically communicating overseas, with teams overseas. I was also involved in the early stages of artificial intelligence when it was called expert systems, as well as cloud services while I was at Microsoft. So I’ve been involved in a number of stages where technologies would come and absolutely disrupt an industry, an entire industry, or disrupt the business and basically force competitive changes the business would have to make in order to stay competitive with their peers.
And so it’s been a process, it’s been a great career, it’s been exciting because it’s a constant state of learning and reevaluating what your core strengths are and what could change to actually optimize that and take advantage of those technologies.
Awesome. David, would you mind introducing yourself?
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
Yes. Hey, my name is David Van Beekum, and so I grew up around computers and technology. My father was electrical contractor and he would love to bring home any piece of a machinery or equipment that was left over. So when I grew up, it was out in the garage. There was no car there, it was just full of boxes. Technology. There would be a grommeted switch for a clean room on one shelf, transformer on another, and a pneumatic pump on another, with 17 rolls of wire ranging in gauges from eight to 38.
And circuit boards, microwaves and computers was kind of my upbringing first computers being 286 when I was like eight years old. And so I kind of grew up around the technology wave and I just kind of stuck with it over time. I was homeschooled, so I spent a lot of time networking. My home at twelve years old. Eventually just started building web design and databases.
Never really had a real job, just kind of worked as a freelancer, self employed forever. And you do that a couple of times and you realize, okay, I’m building something for someone else. Can we do this with a partner? Can we build out something bigger? So right now I’m working on a startup and just having a lot of fun in this technological world, but keeping an eye out for that next disruptive technology.
I think a good place for us to start is a theoretical question. We talk about technology disruption, but maybe we need to define what is disruption, or what does disruption really mean? We could talk about technology innovations. And so is there really a difference between innovation and disruption? Or where does the disruption actually come into the conversation?
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
I think that’s a little bit of both. The disruption is on the second half of the innovation. So the innovation is happening most of the time behind the closed doors of someone funding a project, someone doing a little bit of research with that next piece of technology. And then the disruption is when it starts to hit some sort of public name, and it usually changes the name. And the funniest thing was when cloud computing came out, or cloud servers, everybody started talking about, oh, it’s in the cloud. I’m like, guys, there’s been data rooms out there since seventy s. Eighty s. It was a hosted server. It was a dedicated server. Right?
And now it’s, oh, it’s cloud. And so when you think of why, oh, well, we needed an older generation to understand what this was. So you can’t just say, well, it’s been a server, this is the same thing. Well, you had to come up with a new name. So when did that become innovative?
And when was it disruptive? By 20 to 30 years. Now that’s because computers just came by. And Guy was talking about the technology cycle of the was like the first piece in everything. That’s what pushed the market.
IBM, all the computer technologies, pushed incredible moves in all those companies because of technological cycle. But when did it start first with the innovation piece? So yeah, they are two separate things. And I think as a business, you have to always keep an eye out for innovation. You said some great comments there.
I think I might add a little bit to that. I think innovation is really that the things that you’re doing continuously to improve based on an existing technology that you’re getting at, you’re innovating on how to actually use that, apply it to broaden it, to find applications for it. And there is a little bit of that sort of new thing. And you mentioned internet and cloud services and we did have terminal services and other server based, data center based services. But using web browsers to basically build applications from me, actually building an application on a server and then hosting that back to my customers was an innovation.
That innovation created disruption. And I think the difference between innovation and disruption is when you start to see businesses fall away, business models fall away, new business models developing in their place, and you’re seeing major transitions between employment, between I used to have a skill, that skill is no longer sellable. I have to develop a new skill in order to stay working. And you’ve got an information, an educational component to that disruption that tells the customers, suppliers, supply chain, everyone else, how they need to then change in order to be part of that new industry. And so I think disruption comes when we see new industries develop and all of the economic transformations and just changes that have to go along with that across not just a company or single technology, but across the board.
I think the part that you just laid in there, educating the customer about what is needed next, how to use this technology. Oftentimes businesses aren’t able to keep up with the innovation or the changes in technology that are happening, and the customers are driving it by saying, hey, I want to connect with you using this particular type of technology. And so then businesses have to try to figure out a way to accelerate that in order to be able to maintain the expectations customers have.
I think it’s a good point, but you’re always going to see the innovation. For example, let’s say electronic payments through a Venmo or something.
You’ve got the innovation that basically says, hey, you could use this as a new form of payment. And then when that customer mass really grows enough, they can go back to their other services and say, hey, I want you to instead of just my credit card, I want you to also accept this other form. And so we do see that but before the customers themselves can really drive that demand, there has to be a core service or a core technology to exist in order for them to say, hey, I find value in this, therefore I want to see it more broadly.
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
Yeah, absolutely. And those transitions are happening faster now than they did before. And I started thinking about the transitions and how many years would have had taken to go from horse and buggy to car or the pain and suffering that would have happened during those times and the talk and the conferences. And there was no podcasts, there was no streaming content, there was no way to get that data quickly to the business except maybe through word of mouth. And it always gets transitioned a different way. If you think about the cyclical nature of a transition in technology, it can cause a lot of damage. So the more we talk about this and the more that the end user client understands, okay, this is coming down the road like you talked about with Venmo.
What do I need to start preparing for or thinking about? This makes even changes in their purchases of today, of what that technology may be in five years. Because they’re thinking what kind of API integrations? I know, I look at that. What can I connect to? Because that’s the world that we’re going into.
Well, I think you make an interesting point in terms of the acceleration of these things happening. And I think we’ve got a baseline of a digital platform right now through the cloud and browsers and cloud services to really drive that faster. Just a case in point. When we were first transitioning from a corporation that had only five major desktop computers and those were on the desks of five VPs, none of which knew how to use it, it was basically there for show and we had to transition to getting desktops into every department and then on every desk.
And that huge investment when you’re talking at the time like 6000, $8,000 per desk. And that was a lot of money back then, it’s a lot of money now. In order to actually understand what those options were and understand what the choices were, understand what the implications were, and be able to ask questions and discuss it, I had to bring sales reps into my office. And so what took me a period of weeks or months to gather enough information to go to the executives and say this is what I’m going to propose, this is what we need to do. I can now go online and basically go to websites and get that information in a matter of hours.
So part of the acceleration is that rapid access, is that fluid access to the information needed to download and then rather than waiting for them to deliver the software and then actually had to put that in and install it on every machine, it’s now a click away download. And so the acceleration is in part because of the previous innovations to make software ubiquitous to the business environment, rather than tying up thousands of sales reps to basically visit every corporation on the planet in order to convince them over months of time that this is something they needed to do. So part of that acceleration is as we accumulate those technologies, the technology basically accelerates itself.
We talk about access to the information and if we just progress over, say, the last 200, 300 years, it used to be by mail carrier in some form or another, then we get to email. And today, obviously with AI, it’s even becoming faster. The ability for us to get the information or answers to the questions we have is at an all time apex in terms of speed and how is that going to impact how we make decisions in businesses today?
That’s an excellent question. And one of the things that I talk about oftentimes is that the speed of the innovation now is coming faster than our ability to understand the implications in the business, on society, and on the world, either legally, morally, ethically, best practices. So it’s actually running faster than we can keep up with it. A few weeks ago, there was a number of different AI scientists who signed a letter to saying we need to slow down and really think about how this is going and how do we necessarily put some of those controls in place before it gets out of hand. Social media was a great example. We produced social media. It just exploded in popularity in a matter of a couple of years. Hundreds of millions and billions of people joining. And then we start realizing that there’s a psychological, there’s a social, there’s other impacts to this.
And we’re kind of catching we had to do a catch up to say, well, and we’re still catching up to how do we moderate this in a way that’s both legal and healthy and doesn’t have these problems. AI is posing that problem for us right now where it’s moving faster than we really know how to handle. And I think the question that if our business is to say what’s strategic to my business, what’s strategic for my customer base, how do I make sure that I’m moderating, I’m managing that in a way where the technology doesn’t basically get ahead of me and create problems that I have to go back and fix. This is where the technology is at a stage where we really need to have a process within the industry to step back and really understand where we’re going before we basically take that step. Because we could see some missteps and you’re seeing with Chat, GPT came out, Google and Amazon and a number of others said, okay, me too, me too, me, I’m going to push mine out. And we saw some places where they weren’t ready. And there’s a tremendous amount of preparation involved in implementing some of those technologies with regard to the database, the data sources, the training of those technologies to prevent that. And we’re seeing it as almost an instant fix right now, when in fact, there’s been 20 years of progress into artificial intelligence to get us to this level. Now it’s becoming hyper aware because of Chat GPT, but we still need to make sure we’re doing our homework as an industry to make sure that as how we want to apply it is ready and it actually doesn’t create a liability.
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
Yeah, I agree with that. And growing up, at least for me, it was the CNBC was talking about the latest processor, right, with the intel. What is it generating? How many processes can it do? Then we had multithreading, and you had this physical world that was growing and expanding, and then it was memory, and then it was data transfer. And so now we’ve kind of gone out of the physical and gone into the AI world of how fast can we process this information?
What can be shared amongst people? And then, yeah, is there a limit to what we’re going to allow it to do? Take how many jobs? I always wonder if this is a precursor for some sort of universal income, where if the AI is going to do so many things for society to be able to get to the next level, they can’t be worried about the job position. I mean, they talk about Chat GPT or just AI taking over so many pieces of the industry that it’s just amazing.
From writing information to they talk about law. I’m not so sure. But how do you move at that technological speed that you talked about earlier? How everything grows on another without hurting the working population and also paychecks, but looking for that efficiency, it’s a hard balance.
Well, Morgan Chase produced a study last month that basically said that between now and 2030, they expect 300 million job displacements as a result of AI. That’s worldwide. Now, when you talk about universal income, when we’re already at an incredible debt level in our country, in order to make that transition, we not only have to have social programs put in place, we need tax changes put in place. We need to understand how to make this technology pay for those transitions of those workers. And we’re not really even close to getting there yet. So this has the potential of being a major situation where you get a handful of extremely obscenely wealthy winners and a mass amounts of poorly prepared losers.
But if we think about just technology, and we go back to the beginning of our conversation and we look at the various technologies over the course of the last 100 years, I think there’s a common theme in all of them. One of the things you mentioned was that $6,000 to put a PC on a desktop, then we start thinking about accessibility to email and the rapid growth of other types of technologies. The one consistency in all of that has been it’s just becoming more accessible to the average person. AI has been around for over 50 years at least, if not more. But it’s only now that we have regular daily access to that technology. It’s one thing if you can control who has access to technology. It’s another thing you can call it Pandora’s Box if you want. It’s another thing when you let that technology out and allow anybody to use it. Social media is another good example. You allow people to use social media, they’re going to figure out ways to use it that meets their own personal needs or gratifications. We’re seeing that now with AI because AI is accessible, anybody can reach it.
One of the issues I bring up in my books is that with nuclear technology, it’s internationally controlled. The intellectual property for it is controlled. The resources or the people who know how to use it are tightly monitored and watched and controlled. And the materials necessary to build nuclear weapons are tightly controlled.
Now, things can happen. Things can get out of that control, and we’ve seen that happen. But with AI, it’s an open field. People can download the information, can download the tools, can download the technology, and it is being used. Like, for example, I recently read that we’re seeing a rapid increase.
Elderly people are people being scammed by someone calling saying that, I’m your son. Hey, I’m in trouble, so wire me money. And the voice is so unrecognizable from the true thing that people are basically being scammed. So again, it’s who has control of this powerful, powerful technology? And are we prepared as a society to somehow limit some of the control access so that we can look at what’s being done with this technology?
And my biggest fear with AI is not that AI is evil. AI. Is neither evil nor benign. But there is dark money. And when you see dark money coming into these situations where there could be malicious intent, that creates a problem.
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
Yeah, I think it’s that human interaction when it touches the human interaction. So nobody has a problem with AI calculating the numbers or doing a report or doing my accounting. But when I think about if it ever touched the salesperson, or if you combine Google Glasses or Apple glasses with a real heads up display of facial recognition of the person across you selling, this is going to really introduce harm into the sales person to person process. Because, you know, somebody’s going to say, oh, I’m going to have a BS meter app that I can download. And it’s going to take the variations of your voice and the knocking of your knee and the flicker of your finger, and I’m going to see if the guy at Starbucks is really who he says he is, or is he selling, right. The guy that comes to my door. And we haven’t got there yet. But that’s a very disruptive piece that in the industry. It’s like, well, okay, it’ll never touch sales. Okay, but when it does, what will it do?
I think it will touch sales. And I I think the the thing with AI is there are a thousand different incredible, powerful, positive uses for the technology. The potential for in medicine, in material sciences, in astrophysics, in particle sciences, in accounting. I work with a company that uses AI to basically manage large projects to keep them from going off the track long before anybody knows they’re going to go off the track.
You mentioned legal. There are 1000 really incredibly great uses for artificial intelligence. The problem is that, as I mentioned earlier, the technology is moving faster than our social awareness and our abilities to understand how to manage and control it so that we don’t also get whipped in the backside with all of the negative, fraud, theft, corruption, malicious kind of purposes that it can be used for as well. And so we’re putting incredibly powerful tools in the hands of everybody, and some of those are going to use it for incredibly positive, great ways, which are good, even though that also might disrupt employment. We got to be prepared for that so that good people aren’t basically trying to figure out how to find a job that’s not impacted by AI.
It’s like the old spiderman thing. With great power comes great responsibility. And we have to step up to that responsibility before this power really gets out of hand. And it really is almost already there.
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
Yeah, it really is how everything is happening faster now. It’s good. It’s very good to be part of a podcast and a group, any kind of person above your level of thinking, especially small businesses, because you can wipe out a whole entire industry with this AI. I saw one the other day upload 20 photos of yourself and it will spit back 100 professional photos in different places for your headshot, right. For marketing purposes, if that ever hit 50%, 60%, you’d wipe out so many photographers and I don’t know how you deal with that, but that’s just one example of the technology moving so quick that it could potentially hurt people. And it’s good to have these discussions now in a group setting to say, okay, what are we going to do?
How do we implement this? Either in a lower package to bring people in and teach them the differences? But this is going to be a huge undertaking on all levels.
I think the other side of this is the usability of the product. So you mentioned like headshots, which sounds like a fascinating idea. But if we go back to your conversations on the legal side as well as healthcare side, here’s a basic scenario for you, and I’d be interested to hear what you think the general public, how would they answer this? You are going into surgery and you have the option of a human surgeon or a fully automated AI surgeon. The AI will perform this surgery at a 99.99% success rate, or you can choose the doctor. What do you think most people would pick?
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
They would absolutely pick the robot, depending on the age.
I think a lot of people it’s a great question and there’s a second part to that you didn’t touch on, which is if something does go wrong, who’s legally liable? But there are going to be people, just like there are people who stepped up right away, said, yeah, put a chip in my head. There’s going to be always those innovators who want to use the technique, who trust the technology more than they trust people. There’s going to be a lot of people, particularly in the older generations, the baby boomer generations, and some of the older generations, who are going to say, no, I want my life in the hands of somebody who has to care for that and I can talk to about it and I can reason with and who will reassure me. And so I think there will be a transition.
I think certainly the younger generation, by the time they’re at that age where they start to need a lot of surgery, I think are going to be more technology trusting. But I think it’s going to be a transition first. I think you’re going to get probably right now, today, my guess would be more people would choose the person, give another ten years, and I think that trend will reverse.
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
So we’re going to be paying for now different levels of models, of trained models. You can buy this model for surgery for 10,000, it’s done 100,000 surgeries, or this one has been traded on a million. It’s very strange, but you’ve seen this in well, think about like, cryptocurrencies or any kind of other technology that we didn’t think about 20 years ago. I imagine forecasters could say, well, you could sell anything, but how do you distribute those pieces? And that’s part of it, it’s like you can sell a learning it’s been trained this way or trained that way, but you may lease that to the doctor, and the doctor still has to have that one on one. They may do all the important pieces and then the doctor comes in for the less important pieces and the doctor comes in for the final piece, some sort of prep robot.
Or they may. Have basically a combination of both.You may have the AI performing certain parts of the surgery, but a doctor on hand in case anything goes wrong. And so now the expense goes way up, the insurance goes way up. Who’s going to pay for that in.
The long run if we start to look towards the future? And business owners, individuals who are trying to navigate technology disruption, what are some key tips, next steps, recommendations that we can leave with them?
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
For me, it would just be keep an eye out on that latest innovation that is happening because you’re still a couple of years away from that disruptive technology. I know it’s hard, I know you’re busy, but it’s incredibly important to think about that next step in your business. Again, it’s the software that you’re downloading it’s. If you are in the training of ten, 2100 people, what software are we using that could implement an AI module piece to save time or money? It’s all about looking towards the future, integrations, what the company is doing. Does the company have a research module section of who they are saying, okay, well, we’re going to look at the future and see what’s there. And if you don’t have that, spend a little bit of time speaking with that, with your partners saying, where are we going? What could be something that would be disruptive in the future?
If I were still in business, I would basically set aside this type of model I’d be looking at first. What are the product innovations that we could be using that might impact our industry in terms of our customer base and outward in terms of those investments? What are the investments in other services that we might be using and the cost model for that new product in terms of who else are we going to be leveraging on rather than building our own? And what does that imply for our future? Modeling? And then three, how is that going to impact my employee base in terms of retraining changes in skill sets? Do I need to stop recruiting one skill, start recruiting another skill? What are the changes in my employee base that I might be going along with that? And then how do I then position that in terms of my investors and my shareholders? So I would probably be looking at those four things with what are my opportunities, what are my costs, what is the employee, my resource base impact? How does that impact my investors and my shareholders?
It’s been a fabulous conversation. I appreciate both of your perspectives. I’m sure the audience is going to love hearing all of your insights. David, thank you so much for your time.
DAVID VAN BEEKUM
Thank you for having me. It was an awesome show.
and thank you, Guy.
Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. It’s been fun.
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