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Seeing Around Corners
This week I am writing about inflection points, photorealistic avatars, mental health of entrepreneurs, and BMWs partnership with a virtual influencer.
This is MadeMeThink.xyz – A weekly newsletter for visionaries, innovators and critical thinkers exploring the world of tomorrow. Written by Prof. Thomas Metzler, Ph.D.
This MadeMeThink last week…
Seeing Around Corners
I just read "Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen" by Rita McGrath. McGrath emphasizes the importance of recognizing and capitalizing on inflection points — those pivotal moments when the fundamentals of any business are about to change. McGrath argues that businesses often miss out on new growth opportunities because they are unprepared or unable to spot these moments before they happen. McGrath posits that by observing subtle early signals and fostering a culture of experimentation and adaptability, organizations can anticipate and respond to these shifts effectively. The book doesn't have any groundbreaking insights or new tools for people who are familiar with the topic, but McGrath has brought up some interesting examples and thoughts. A few excerpts from the book that got me thinking:
Snow melts from the edges:
“Earlier, I used the idea that snow melts from the edges to suggest that if you want to be strategic about a potential inflection point, you need to be exposed to where it first turns up - usually at the edges of your organisation” - McGrath (2019, p. 105)
Let the chaos reign:
“Andy Grove articulated this point in his original work on strategic inflections points. Before the pattern is clear, he said, you have to let a certain amount of chaos reign. Lots of inputs, lots of ideas, and lots of arguments are essential. Only after you have sufficient information (the weak signals have become strong enough) should you coalesce the organization around a selected strategic path.” - McGrath (2019, p. 182)
“If you want to know how the twentysomethings of ten years from now will be looking at the world, you can be absolutely certain that you could have a conversation with the ten-year-olds of today.” - McGrath (2019, p. 36)
The future unfolds unevenly:
“When moving pictures were first commercialized, nobody knew what a “movie” was. So what did they do? They filmed stage plays! I would make a similar observation about online education. We don’t know what it really is yet, so we film professors talking at the front of the classroom. This is highly unlikely to be where the new medium takes us, but we don’t yet know what that will look like, and so experimentation and trial and error are essential (…) The main point here is that the future doesn’t just happen all at once. It begins to unfold unevenly.” - McGrath (2019, p. 36-37)
Lex Fridman Interview with Marc Zuckerberg as Photorealistic Avatars
Last week I wrote an article on "The Quest for Immersion." Actually, I had planned to include an interview by Lex Fridman with Marc Zuckerberg, but I simply forgot. So I'm adding it now. The interview is conducted via a Meta Quest Pro with photorealistic avatars (see screenshot; video interview can be found here, have a look). What surprised me was how surprised Fridman was by the experience, in his words:
“This is blowing my mind. I can't quite express (…) I'm literally at a loss of words cause it's very difficult to just convey how incredible this is (…) it's a fundamentally new experience (…) I hope that people like watching this can get a glimpse of like, how incredible it is. It really feels like we're in the same room (…) I don't think we can even imagine how that changes things when you can immediately have intimate one-on-one conversations with anyone. That might, like, in a way we might not even predict, change civilization (…) I'm really excited for this future. (…) It's one of the most incredible experiences in my life.” - Lex Fridman
Mental Health Day…
This week (October 10) was Mental Health Day and therefore I'd like to draw attention to a study by Freeman et al. (2019), which looked into the intersection of entrepreneurship and mental health. The study revealed that mental health conditions, either directly or indirectly, impacted 72% of the entrepreneurs surveyed. The findings showed that 49% of entrepreneurs reported a personal history of mental health conditions, notably higher than the comparison group. The conditions reported included depression (30%), ADHD (29%), substance use (12%), and bipolar disorder (11%).
BMW x Virtual Influencer “Make it Real”
BMW has entered into a partnership with virtual influencer Lil Miquela to promote their new electric vehicle, the iX2. Virtual influencers do not age, can be (virtually) everywhere at the same time, and might appeal to new target groups. Does it appeal to you? What do you think of it? Let me know as a comment on my Linkedin post about it.
A Personal update…
Youth Entrepreneurship Week
Last week I made a small contribution to the "Youth Entrepreneurship Week" at a local school. I was a juror and was allowed to evaluate 14 different ideas of the approx. 17-year-old students. The students came up with some interesting ideas, such as a weekly event series for seniors, an initiative to support women, gummy bears for quitting smoking or a filter for drinking bottles to clean polluted water.
Disclaimer: The thoughts published in this publication are my personal opinion and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation for any type of action. I am not a financial expert. The startups or corporates highlighted in the newsletter have caught my interest. This mention is not an endorsement or recommendation to engage with them. Readers should always do their own research.