Consulting tip: Subscribe to Fast Company

By | December 15, 2015

I read Fast Company.  It is a iconoclastic magazine which is easy to read, fun, and honestly, pretty cheap at $1 per month per magazine at discount mags. It is their 20th anniversary, this editorial here talks about their predictions for the next 20 years. Lots of to think about. My comments in orange color.

ConsultantsMind - Fast Company

1. Speed with Triumph. Completely agree with this. In the digital age, information is not a differentiator, instead, it is the common ingredients – available to all competitors to mix, match, and iterate to create value. There is enormous “value” in the teams of people who can capture the imagination of early adopters and continuously iterate to a solution. Clay Christensen talks about the innovator’s dilemma here, and offering less for less. Listen to this 24 min podcast from Harvard Business Review of Xiomi – Chinese cell phone maker – and you will will convinced that speed is the key here.

2. Mark Zuckerberg will Lead. He had 19 million users in 2007.  He passed up $1 billion for facebook, and now he has 1.5 billion users and a net worth of $30 billion and growing. Largely credited with running a smart business – learning Mandarin – and only getting more business savvy. Bad ass.

3. Malala will Build. Don’t know much about this Nobel prize winner. Will learn more.

4. Elon Musk with Inspire. Serial entrepreneur. Disruption in multiple industries. Just look at a few videos of his WILD best on CNBC here, and you will be convinced that is both a visionary, maverick, and juggernaut. If you don’t love Tesla cars (103 out of 100 on consumer reports cars), you may be a dullard. 

5. Technology Will Improve the Human Condition. Duh, not a deep point here.

6. Digital Tools will Unlock Opportunity. Absolutely true. Think of all the MOOCs here, and how they will democratize education and flatten the global learning barriers, where the most talented, motivated, and poor children will be able to learn from the best. It will disrupt higher-education, and only the best education franchises will last.

7. Democracy will be Digital. Agreed, not a controversial point.

8. Diversity will Deepen. I would hope so.

9. Mission will Triumph over Money. This is fascinating. While I agree that this has become more important to new generations of educated, privileged, and worldly travelers . . .oddly, I don’t know why.

As a bit of a neo-classical (University of Chicago-type thinker), not sure why the free-market monetarist way of thinking does not influence everyone . . .I begrudgingly admit that the new generation is different. They want meaning, not just money. Perhaps money has diminishing returns in the developed world. Privileged Americans, Europeans, Japanese, and Koreans. . just want something more than Gucci.

10. DNA will be unstoppable. Believe this entirely. Our consulting team talked about 23 and me tonight. A good friend sent his sample in and will get test results back shortly.

11. Medical Training will be ReWritten.  This is an interesting thesis, that physicians and clinicians will not longer need to “remember” treatments, but instead leverage IBM Watson like diagnostic capabilities to interpret data. As with many of the more time-tested professions, I personally think that medicine will be one of the slowest to change.

12. Human Empathy will be Central. Agreed. Our (humans) ability to contextualize, empathize, and related to each other, is one of the enduring differences between us and the machines. As McKinsey notes, that 13% of our  jobs can be further automated when computers learn to understand human language at a median proficiency here.

13. Entrepreneurship will not be for Everyone. Agreed. Look at most consultants – we have tons of good ideas and advise clients everyday on risks that we – ourselves – are unwilling to take. MBAs make us risk averse.

14. Bubbles will Burst. Clearly.

15. Simple will be more Difficult. Competely agree. Bain makes this point repeatedly that the world continues to be more cross-functional, multi-variable, and complex. Simple is hard to create. As Pascal commented many years ago, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have time.” 

16. Cybersecurity will be more Costly. It already is expensive – not only in the direct costs of protection, but also with the opportunity cost of wasted time worrying about identity theft, and numerous credit card frauds and miscellaneous charges. It is the clearly the easiest way for bad people to mess with the system.

17. China and India will Dominate. This is already true.

18. Food will be Healthier. Whole Foods here.

19. Cash will Disappear. I rarely, ever carry cash.

20. We will all be Family. I am Gen-X and probably disagree on this one. We are not all family.  Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter all give us the semblance of intimacy, but its is false proximity. You think you know me, but you really don’t. In Korean the word for friend is call CHIN-GOO – which means. . . FRIEND-LONG, meaning that friendships are formed over a long time and through deep, intense experience. I still believe that. . now, and even 20 years later.

Read Fast Company. It is a great magazine – fun, full of innovation and thought-provoking things that will honestly make you a more interesting conversationalist at Christmas parties. Don’t be boring. Read about things other than the stock market. What are the trends you believe we will see in the next 20 years?

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6 thoughts on “Consulting tip: Subscribe to Fast Company

  1. Tomm

    I like Fast Company because it’s not aimed only at corporate audience, hence they tend to avoid fixation on strategy, leadership and processes.

    Although in regards to these generic predictions I’m fairly dissapointed, as 95% of them are as relevant now as they were 5 years ago, they could’ve also include something like ‘change is unavoidable’ 🙂 My prediction is that buzz themes like ‘digital’ will be around for next x years until they wear off, cause we’ll get sick of them, so the industry will produce a new label for ‘digital 2.0’.

    1. consultantsmindadmin Post author

      Agreed. Kind of generic. I am surprised they did not say things more provocative like. . . future wars will now be over water rights. Etc.

  2. Athanassios P.

    Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

    Your blog is a delight to read and a welcomed contribution.

    Kind regards from a junior consultant.

    1. consultantsmindadmin Post author

      Bubbles will continue to burst. India and China will dominate, agree with both. Even if they are a bit obvious. Have a great holidays.

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