Startups Are Turning Customers into Lobbyists

oct17-24-158318144-Jurgen-Ziewe

Excerpt from this article:

Our research finds that some insurgent firms have prevailed on the regulatory front by using a strategy straight out of the playbook of environmental activists – mobilizing stakeholders to become political advocates. Organized demonstrations of support by stakeholder groups can send a powerful signal to policymakers. We find that firms mobilize their customers – one important stakeholder group – in three primary ways:

Online petitions…

Partner organizations…

Consumer clubs…

 

 

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Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Vacuum

Silicon Valley’s biggest failing is not poor marketing of its products, or follow-through on promises, but, rather, the distinct lack of empathy for those whose lives are disturbed by its technological wizardry.

Excerpt from this article in The New Yorker:

Silicon Valley’s biggest failing is not poor marketing of its products, or follow-through on promises, but, rather, the distinct lack of empathy for those whose lives are disturbed by its technological wizardry. Two years ago, on my blog, I wrote, “It is important for us to talk about the societal impact of what Google is doing or what Facebook can do with all the data. If it can influence emotions (for increased engagements), can it compromise the political process?”

…My hope is that we in the technology industry will look up from our smartphones and try to understand the impact of whiplashing change on a generation of our fellow-citizens who feel hopeless and left behind.

…Otto, a Bay Area startup that was recently acquired by Uber, wants to automate trucking—and recently wrapped up a hundred-and-twenty-mile driverless delivery of fifty thousand cans of beer between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. From a technological standpoint it was a jaw-dropping achievement, accompanied by predictions of improved highway safety. From the point of view of a truck driver with a mortgage and a kid in college, it was a devastating “oh, shit” moment. That one technical breakthrough puts nearly two million long-haul trucking jobs at risk. Truck driving is one of the few decent-paying jobs that doesn’t require a college diploma. Eliminating the need for truck drivers doesn’t just affect those millions of drivers; it has a ripple effect on ancillary services like gas stations, motels, and retail outlets; an entire economic ecosystem could break down.

 

 

 

Innovation is in all the wrong places

Excerpt from this article:

From car rental desks that look shocked when it’s busy to hotels that can’t tell you when your room will be ready and ask for credit card details three times, physical retailers need to adapt to a world in which online shopping has made people impatient, expecting to find things immediately — and to be served even faster.

For all companies, innovation needs to be deeper. Not token gestures on the edge, but fundamental rewiring of business from the core. Imagine a business as an onion of concentric layers. On the outermost surface would be communications — how companies express themselves. Inside this would be marketing — the services, promotions, pricing and products made by the business. At the core, upon which everything else is built, are the business values, culture, processes and systems.

…The real examples of innovation come from companies built for the modern age. They’ve taken new behaviors, new technology, new workflows and, above all else, new consumer expectations. Here we see the obvious examples like Uber or Airbnb, but also companies like Facebook, which has become a media owner of vast scale that does not actually make any content.

…Let’s stop thinking of technology as a trendy tattoo — a surface-level commitment best kept on a conspicuous but not often used part of the body.

Let’s think of it as oxygen — essential to the beating heart of your business.