We live in a world of digital leakage.
Digital technology is like hydrochloric acid. It does not recognize borders.It burns through everything. Geographies, business models, industry definitions.
It refuses to be contained or fit in containers of the past or the containers of our mindsets.
1. Borders Fall: Today, with the internet one can connect all over the world seamlessly. The barriers to distribution of data, information and entertainment blur. India’s Bollywood leverages the web to export Hindi movies into China and the Indian Premier League of Cricket distributes worldwide on You Tube. Want a great lesson in math or english or chemistry? Fire up your browser and go to the Khan Academy and learn in ten languages. Future universities are global.
2. Industry Definitions Dissolve: When Apple introduced the iPhone it did not just enter the”phone category” to compete with Nokia but was soon competing with Nikon due to its camera, Nintendo due to the popularity of games, Garmin because the mobile phone was a great navigation device, Timex since who needs a watch or alarm clock. The list goes on.
3. Competition Comes From Surprising Places: Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple a few years ago were highly complimentary businesses. Today they overlap each other as platforms and network effects create a blur. Digital leakage causes companies to leak into businesses that were those of their suppliers and service providers.
4. Privacy Leakage: Today our digital data leaks and merges and melds with other forms of data. Our public information from Four Square Check Ins, Tweets, Facebook Posts and the like allow us to not only project ourselves all over but also provide a digital record to all who may wish to lurk, snoop or follow. Privacy leaks.
5. Mobility Merges Analog and Digital Worlds: Increasingly phones and other mobile devices allow us to connect place and people to digital networks. Check in at a restaurant and get not just offers but tips from folks and maybe catch up with a friend. Take a picture and broadcast to the web. All places are becoming digital points.
6.Digital/Analog Blends: Digital platforms are double edged swords. They let us project our lives into other peoples minds but often leak stuff from their lives into ours whether we would like or not. For example, sometimes great angst occurs as our “friends” curated and manicured lives on Facebook filter into the messiness of our own lives and make us wonder what we are missing. Often digital technology not only allows us to bridge great distances but creates often a gap between who we are and whom we perceive we want to be.
The digital tsunami is unstoppable. Our cars, our home, and soon our very selves will be embedded with little chips all connected to a network. All of us just a drop in a world of digital leakage.
There will be much art and science, strategy and drama as all of us who are still analog (in that we feel more than we compute ) try to remain intact and functional in a digital world that leaks into our beings and our business.