How to Thrive in the Digital Age, with Lital Marom


Exclusive Interview with: Lital Marom

Lital Marom is internationally sought for her expertise on platform business models, AI, IoT, blockchain, and other emerging technologies. She is the founder of UNFOLD, a boutique innovation and management consulting firm whose clients include Johnson & Johnson, KLM, eBay, TD Bank, the European Commission, Electrolux, and Nestle, among others. Marom has delivered highly-rated keynotes across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Emerging technologies will disrupt every industry. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will soon. And if it has happened, that’s no reason to rest.

SPEAKING.COM: You’ve said that in 10 years from now, 40% of today’s Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist. What types of businesses are disappearing?

MAROM: Companies that can’t adapt, disrupt, or reimagine themselves—and the way they serve their customers—should be on high alert. Emerging technologies will disrupt every industry. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will soon.

And if it has happened, that’s no reason to rest. Airbnb changed the hotel industry, but the hotel industry isn’t done changing. That’s the power of exponential technologies – they redefine our economy.

SPEAKING.COM: How do you know when an industry is ripe for disruption?

MAROM: Any business that makes life inconvenient for customers is ready for disruption; it’s as simple as that. Say you need a package to arrive in New York in 10 hours, but it won’t arrive until Monday, or you’re in line at a bank when you need to be somewhere else. Any industry can be disrupted by a new approach that improves your customers’ daily lives.

SPEAKING.COM: What are the chief differences between companies that prosper and companies that fail in the digital age?

MAROM: The chief difference is mindset. Our minds are wired to think linearly while our world is moving exponentially. A company with an incremental mindset focuses on improving their current approach. Companies with exponential mindsets focus on developing new approaches. Facebook wants to make the world more open and connected. Google wants to make the world’s information universally accessible.

That’s an exponential mindset at work, tapping into new technologies and advancements to create something entirely new. You can have an army of data scientists or develop Artificial Intelligence, but if you still have a linear strategy, you’re going to fail.

SPEAKING.COM: What are exponential technologies?

MAROM: Simply put, exponential technologies are those where the power and speed double each year while the cost drops by half. See Moore’s Law.

Exponential technologies allow businesses to reimagine their boundaries.

SPEAKING.COM: What are the new kinds of businesses you foresee exponential technologies creating?

MAROM: Exponential technologies allow businesses to reimagine their boundaries. For example, the biggest purchase in your life is buying a home. Banks can just sell mortgages, or they can leverage new technologies to build a platform around the home buying experience that incorporates services new homeowners need like moving assistance, new furniture, general contracting, housekeeping or lawn-mowing services, etc. Solving old problems with an exponential approach adds value to your business and attracts new customers.

SPEAKING.COM: How do platforms scale from being a startup to a billion-dollar company within a year?

MAROM: One-way platforms scale through the network effect. That’s when users connect with other users to add value to a business that increases exponentially as more people join and connect. Airbnb made the connections between travelers and hosts their focal point and grew quickly as a result. Amazon moved from a linear business focus on inventory and sales to a marketplace that taps into the network effect through ratings and reviews. The more people like a product, the more perceived value it has, and the more ratings and reviews created by Amazon’s community, the more valuable Amazon is. If you set the foundation of your business to monitor and invest in those interactions, you can add more value and scale more quickly.

SPEAKING.COM: Many startups fail. How do you create a successful small to midsize business in a winner-takes-all business environment?

MAROM: It’s true. Platforms polarize the market very quickly. Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft dominate our economy, but they didn’t get there overnight. They started by doing something different, then scaled that idea iteratively until they could compete with the existing establishment. Small and midsize companies have an opportunity to find their niche in the spaces that aren’t being served by the tech monopolies. When they can take advantage of that niche in a platform business model, they can create their own winner-takes-all opportunity.

SPEAKING.COM: How does building a platform business differ from building a traditional business?

MAROM: The biggest difference is how revenue is generated and poised to scale. The revenue of a traditional company is generated by an internal workforce—their employees. A platform-based business generates revenue by leveraging a workforce that’s mostly outside the company. Uber drivers, Airbnb hosts, and Amazon merchants are the workforce creating value for their respective platforms. In turn, the platforms get a percentage of each transaction. And as the transactions grow exponentially, so does revenue.

After all these privacy and data allegations we’ve seen recently, the biggest word for business in 2019 is ‘trust.’

SPEAKING.COM: What do you see happening within the next few years regarding regulations for platforms and how might this change the way they operate?

MAROM: Regulations haven’t kept up with the monopolies we have today and that’s about to change. New businesses bypass a lot of regulation when nothing specifically addresses their unique structure and approach. Traditional monopolies were based on scarcity. Now, one company can be everywhere and do everything. That said, after all these privacy and data allegations we’ve seen recently, the biggest word for business in 2019 is ”trust.”

SPEAKING.COM: So how can people learn to think exponentially?

MAROM: Thinking exponentially means embracing a hacker mindset, the most important tool you need to thrive in this new economy. Curiosity, tinkering, and grit are the three ingredients of this mindset. You need to be a lifelong learner to continuously reinvent yourself, survive, and thrive. You need to be a person who doesn’t accept things the way they are and who can repurpose what already exists to create something new. And lastly, you need resilience not to give up after setbacks.

To bring technology and futurist keynote speaker, Lital Marom to your organization, please contact Michael Frick at: Mike@Speaking.com

© SPEAKING.com, published on April 22, 2019

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