In a world that is all about “what happened two minutes ago”, the Olympics represent a once-every-four-year touchstone on what really has changed in the world.
Although Beijing 2008 (remember that crazy lit-up swimming pool) and London 2012 (I seem to recall sprinter Usain Bolt’s successful defence and Danny Boyle’s impressive opening ceremony) are faded memories, they are 1461-day mileposts in many sporting fields. I thought i would reprise an analysis I did back in 2012 and look at what Olympian levels of change have happened over the last 8 years in the technology track and digital field.
Sources- Internet Live Stats, Cisco, Counterpoint Stats, Statista, Facebook, Twitter, Ericsson, ATOS
We looked at 8 different statistical weather vanes that we think best represent the state of growth in the digital universe.
Internet Users Worldwide Growth
The growth in interest users is reaching a tipping point as they will represent close to half the world’s population (~46%) in 2016, and double what tit was 8 years ago. That’s pretty hefty given that the internet universe was a precocious 1% of the world’s population back in 1995. It will be interesting to see the trajectory of the internet and what companies focus on as internet population growth has slowed on an annual basis from 14.7% in 2008 to 7.5% in 2016. Will be still care about the developing worlds and getting the next 3-4 billion online through balloons, drones, cheaper devices and free internet? Or will we consider squeezing that juice out of the orange too hard and focus instead on enhancing the web for people already attached and drive better experiences and for companies the nirvana ARPU (average revenue per user)?
2. Mobile Subscriptions
2015 represented an interesting year for mobile in that there are now more mobile subscriptions than there are people in the world. That doesn’t mean everybody is connected, some of us have more than one way to connect (about 1.47 subscriptions per connected user). But we are reaching saturation point. The growth engine may be in connected devices. When we include the internet of Things and connected homes, cars, wearable and TVs. it is expected we will move 1 connected device per person in 2008, to 2 in 2012, to 4 in 2016 and nearly 7 in 2020.
Some interesting prospects exist in developing world nation where in places like Kenya the majority of the population owns a mobile phone to perform life’s essential services even though only 25% own a physical, real venue bank account.
3. Mobile Data Subscriptions
Taking a global view, we have barely scratched the surface on what we can do with the smarter version of mobile – location aware, personal sensing, app-driven smartphones. Although we have experienced 24X growth over the last 8 years of more sophisticated smartphones and mobile PCs, that will be another 2.5X growth over the next 4 years. And it’s not only the number of people, but it’s also what we’re doing on our devices, enhanced need for data-rich infrastructure and our growing dependence on them.
4. Facebook Users
Facebook had barely emerged from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room and in the shadow on ill-fated MySpace back in 2008. In fact, you couldn’t even Like things on Facebook until 2009. By summer 2016, It will have experienced 19X growth between the Beijing games and the Rio ones. It is less a social website now and more social ecosystem with flanges all over the place, competing against Google, Apple and Amazon for your life needs. And just when you thought, Facebook could lose its way and maybe become irrelevant, they decided to gobble up and grow billions of other new people and connections on platforms like Instagram which is bought in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014, never mind it’s investment with millions of other users on a standalone FB Messenger and now Oculus Rift in 2016.
5. Time Spent in Digital
Much to family, classroom and company discord, we are slowly becoming addicted to devices. The US media consumption trend reflects the world more broadly with our inability to stay away form our screens. When watching the Olympics in Rio, we will spend 2.3X more time per day in digital media then we did while watching Beijing – that;’s about 6 hours each day!. And we will do it anywhere. Back in 2008, we spent 11% of our digital time in mobile, now we will be spending 50-60% of our digital time in mobile. Remember when addictions were smoking, gaming or sole a young people arena? Think again.
6. Video Usage
We will be watching 69X more video than we did in Beijing 8 years ago. That’s more Netflix. That’s more Facebook Video. More YouTube. More Meerkat/Periscope. And I’m sure a tonne of other niche video channels. Fully 60% of internet traffic will be video this year. And mobile video views are up a whopping 844% since 2012. the desktop is becoming less and less relevant for even the bandwidth hogger – video – in 2016.
There is 4.3X more stuff being bought online in 2016 then 8 years ago. That may seem like a disappointment vs. other parts of the burgeoning web, but it does factor in the slower adoption of customers due to a variety of factors – preference of brick and mortar, trust/security issues, quickness of fulfillment/delivery/returns obstacles and spotty customer service. As internet commerce retailers figure this out, you will see a longer term tipping point. As US brick and mortar commerce is growing at 2.8% and internet-enabled commerce growing at 18.7% annually, we will see those two lines cross by 2030 – only 3 more Olympics away.
8. Olympic-Sized tweets
A full forensics on digital growth wouldn’t be complete without speaking to the amount of Tweets this summer we’ll peruse about the Rio Olympics. As much as Twitter has had its well publicized struggles on user and revenue growth, there will be 225,000X more tweets about #Rio2016 than there was about Beijing. Part of that is a function of the fact there were only 6 million users and only a handful of athletes back in 2008, 150 million in 2012 and now 350 million estimated Tweeters in 2016. Heck the hashtag wasn’t even invented until 2007! As can be seen by American bobsledder’s Johnny Quinn’s gold medal Sochi twitter performance, niche athlete can become front page headline if you play your cards and tweets right. they will all be on in 2016.
Depending on what role or function you have, this post may either make you squirm uncomfortably or scream with delight. Change does that to people.
When business shifts happen, there comes a long enough period of time where smart people begin to say “I think we can manage this better”. That’s exactly what’s happening between the widening and important gap being created between the marketing function and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the IT function and the Chief Information Officer (CIO).
Top level executives and front-line staff are the first to admit that digital is not being managed well inside companies and things are falling through the cracks. Oftentimes, digital operations are lagging the expectations of their customers by 5 years (and in some laggard industries 10 years).
Digital in BtoB and BtoC environments is being managed by a wide variety of matrix solutions across a number of functions and the consensus is:
it’s not being lead or directed well, there is less accountability than there needs to be,
it is being used tactically and not as a fundamental driver of business value
it is not being used as a driver of new business models and step-change
it is not delivering on revenue generating solutions
it is leaving us open to market-disurpiting threats that aren’t on our radar.
And boards and CEOs realize it’s time to do something about this technology conundrum – witness the “what keeps CEOs up at night” rise in technology’s importance.
The IBM study above shows that many things have stayed the same in their relative importance spectrum but technology has zoomed to the top. Smart organizations have started to dedicate executive level resources to the challenge. Enter the CDO – the Chief Digital Officer.
At last count there were 2,834 of them on LinkedIn. Semantics of what we call the role aside, they are picking up the pieces from the often adversarial relationship between CMO and CIO.
Think about it – you won’t have two more different personalities on an executive team then these two – the CMO and the CIO. Their reward for good work, risk motivation, stakeholder audience and academic/professional backgrounds are radically different. Marketers are accused of chasing the latest and greatest without accounting for the downsides, financial accountabilities and cultural resistance. IT people are accused of maintaining operational excellence at the risk of using technologies unfriendly to the customer experience and practices unfriendly to employees. A mess is being left in the middle.
As a result, the trend is leading to a role that reports straight into the CEO.
So what does a Chief Digital Officer do? We have attempted to list the 18 things that CDOs could do to drive value into a business that currently are either: not being managed, being managed poorly or do not have accountability by other executives in the business.
This chart below also gives you a sense of which industries are jumping this rising trend of CDO adoption first – the key takeaway is it is early days for nearly every industry:
Before people start debating where these new business transformers should be coming from, in practice, it appears that there is wide range of starting points so far. Given the demands of the role and industry, this is the functional discipline where the CDOs are coming form:
And directionally, there are four different sub-types of CDO role being created dependent on the nature of the business, the importance and strategic level expectations of the role, the external/internal focus of the role, the maturity level of digital inside the rest of the organization and capabilities that exist with other functions.
However you construct the role, it does not appear to be going away anytime soon. The role of Chief Digital officer is predicted to be in 50% of the largest global companies by 2017 and 81% of the top digital organizations already centre “digital strategy” as an executive level accountability.
Change is coming executives, and it’s acronym is CDO.
Tim Berners-Lee invented the worldwide web 27 years ago. With the average age of first time moms hovering between 26 and 30 years in most developed countries, that’s about one generation in real-life terms.
Pause. Reflect. My lord, we have experienced a lot of change since then. A hilarious touchstone is this 1994 NBC Today segment on “What is the Internet?”.
This nearly three-decade “wrinkle in time” is overwhelming when you consider that digital has gone from a passing fancy that we watched with bemusement like Bryant Gumbel to a technology architecture that we are wholly and completely reliant on in 2016.
Chunking it out, you realize that every five-six years, the main reason we engage digitally changes. These shifts are creating bigger ripples in how we live, work and play and are progressively turning us into a digital species. Here’s my forensics on the six changes that have already happened and our collective need to have us enter digital’s sixth era – The Impact Age:
Stage I – The Surfing Age (Mid ’90s) – represented by Yahoo, Netscape and Internet Explorer
We were amazed things even worked in the dial up era, but for the first time we could access information, news and messages that used to require a library, a newspaper or letter mail.
Stage II – The Commerce Age (Late ’90s) – represented by eBay, Google and Paypal
Business got connected to the internet and as frenzied capitalists, we started looking at how the web can make us money, which continues to both amaze and frustrate us today. Everybody needed a dot.com and rushed in with $125 billion of capital and web investment…until they didn’t.
Stage III – The Blogging and Posting Age (Early 2000s) – represented by Wikipedia, Craigslist and WordPress
The power is now in the every person’s hands as we learn how to generate content, arguments, transactions and our personal brands without a business or intermediary between us and the audience, culminating in this Time Person of The Year cover in 2006
Stage IV – The Sharing & Social Age (Late 2000s) – represented by Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube
Whether you are a college student, business executive, marketeer, crafty mom or amateur camera guy with a visual joke, billions of us all start posting and interacting with each other’s daily news and passion projects.
Stage V – The Mobile & Impact Age (Early 2010s) – represented by Netflix, Instagram and iPhone
The internet starts looking a lot prettier, more visual and less words, context-aware and always-on (they say 81% of Millennials now sleep with their phone). About 80% of the developed world is now connected to the web and nearly half of the developing world is also there too.
Introducing Stage VI – The Impact Age (the Late 2010s) – represented by Internet of Things, Big Data, Wearables, and Virtual/Augmented Reality
We want something more out of digital now, it’s no longer our play thing – in a world with a crushing pace of change, time demands and drive for personal fulfillment and immediate efficiency, we are now demanding it to become more personalized to our needs, more immersive to our desired experiences and smarter to give us exactly what we want and when we want it. Who will be the winners? and losers? how quick will it happen? and what will be want by 2020 as our next phase? We’ll chat this in an upcoming post.
Yeah that’s right, I’m just another blonde guy with a cause…
Here is my tale. After I left corporate life in 2005 and decided to take a full bite out of the digital apple, the daily grind of business networking, producing content, sharing ideas and getting your name out there actually seemed pretty easy to me. There were fewer channels to cover off. The real authorities in this digital space numbered in the tens, if not hundreds – you could connect to them without the slightest suspicion. And the blogging age allowed even the independent underdog to look big.
Given how seamless it was to connect myself with people and prospects on these nascent spaces of LinkedIn, blogs and Facebook (once it opened up to us now graduated types), it was like shooting fish in a barrel. I thrived. It made sense to spend only a bit of time on my personal brand and a lot of time, working on my various startup and business endeavours. After all, I am a business person and value creator, not a social media ninja (shiver).
Dial forward 10 years, and it is so much more murky. As much as I feel so much smarter about the broader palette of the digital environment, there is always more, more, more. I check out for a month on client projects, and it feels like I’m already out of date.
The personal brand pin dropped for me a few years ago, almost by accident. I started getting weird messages in my inbox and misdirected tweets. It was about this guy Sean Moffett.
Damn! I thought I had been blessed with a distinct name (Sean Moffitt) and yet Sean Moffett, born in the same town as me, had just rocked up the personal brand Moff- charts with a radio show, a can’t miss, global sales training model and a Twitter account that had zoomed up past 100,000 followers in less than a year.
I’ve never met him before, but i have to say I was a bit envious and frustrated by the misattribution of our work. C’mon – I had written hundreds of blog posts, invested in daily media channels, wrote some serious thought leader content, spoke on many stages and even wrote a very weighty book. Was I destined to be the second most popular Sean Moff— in my very own town?
Now thankfully, it appears Sean Moffett’s bubble burst quickly, his Twitter account was suspended for some presumably nefarious practices and his international sales training business came to a close. His LinkedIn account suggests he has gone back to being a financial services manger for a local Honda dealer. I wish hime well. Personal brand identity crisis averted!
It did give me pause for consideration, if fame was so fleeting in a socially connected, always-consuming Snapchat age, what was I to do? 2016 marks a turning point for me. The industry around me has matured and so have I. I can’t just be present, need to invest in my personal brand and it starts here.
I have decided on seven future directions to burnish my SeanMoffitt brand that have crystallized in the post you are reading here (hopefully some of the takeaways resonate with your own personal brand):
1.Welcome to SeanMoffitt.com – All my content, all my services, all my recent thinking in one place – people may doubt that websites are important anymore, but they are when you need a hub for people to more deeply chew on your stuff or get a full sense of what a generalist like myself does. And the themes and software are so much easier to look good and stay updated. Welcome to my personal brand home – please kick off your shoes and stay awhile.
2.Personal Brand Takes Centre Stage – I have never been comfortable with being the self-promoting carnie act that is represented by the worst of my social media peers (you know them, I won’t name them). Perhaps it’s my awshucks Canadian-ness. Or I’d rather have merit versus bluster shine through. So I promise I will never become the Klout-chasing, spamming, douchey blowhard, but my pendulum does need to swing back. I undersell myself and shed the spotlight too often to others. I am going to climb out from behind Wikibrands, CSW and a host of other corporate brands I am affiliated with and spend time on promoting my own.
3. The Sean Moffitt Brand Proposition – hopefully this new focus brings some clarity to the age old question “what is it you do?”. The great thing about producing your very own personal brand site is that it pauses you to think what value do I bring to people. These are my six:4. Sean Moffitt – The Global Thought Leader and Stage Act – I have been blessed with the benefit of speaking at as many as 45+ keynotes per year in some exciting locales, alongside some truly great thinkers and performers. All of these bookings happened through word of mouth – no peddling myself and no use of speaker’s bureaus. Being that loosey goosey has its advantages, but definite downsides. My personal brand move aims for better clarity, nimbleness, globalness and selectivity in my future consulting and stage gigs. Contact my publciist here.
5. New Business Chapter and Innovation Focus – after a recent trip to sunny part of our world (sidebar: I really should have used more SPF), I asked myself the question “what do I really want to do over the next 5 years?”. The mores? I will be doing more global work with impact, working with more teams and partners with more dedicated clients, delivering more C-suite innovation, emerging technology and strategic planning work, becoming a bigger bridge between digital and marketing – see my post on “the Rise of the CDO”. The lesses? I will be spending less time on new media tactical work, fewer pie in the sky projects and less energy pulling out my hair with crappy clients and valueless administration. More exciting news on all this later.
6.The rise of Content-driven Personal Brand Success – I am going to be more regimented in getting the content wheel moving again and keeping it moving. If I have promulgated the rise of inbound marketing, wide content syndication, smart content curation and partner affiliations, i should probably live the part, right? SeanMoffitt.com shall be my HQ. Check out my posts, the 4+ research projects I coordinate each year, the 12+ topics I consult on and the 40+ topics I speak about.
7. Purpose and Passion …together – this new direction and new site will act as lightning rod for people who think like me and more easily help link people who want to work together and think collaboratively. if you are heavily invested in customers, brands, technology, innovation and the future, we are aligned. Let’s have a conversation.