As one might expect, the speech was heavily future and trends focused. So much of what he discussed (especially America’s hyperfocus on the future and “future tense”) was reminiscent of David Brooks’ book “On Paradise Drive.”
Although the audience was treated to a number of wonderfully funny nuggets, like “social notworking” (time wasted at work refreshing our social media presence), Tchong outlined several useful “ubertrends”:
1. Our digital lifestyle (merger of humans with their technology)
2. Time compression
3. Technology-created control freaks (eg expecting immediate responses to email)
From this presentation, there were several interesting learnings.
The first is that this emerging peer to peer world where information is abundant will create a highly transparent society and market. Bad customer service will haunt companies much more in the future.
The second is that while these are ubertrends, there are always countertrends in reaction. For example, there is significant time compression today, but profitable opportunities in slower experiences, products and services (eg yoga).
The next is augmented reality. One early example of this phenomenon is layar. Now imagine this technology enhancing our context of more than just physical locations. Imagine this technology giving us additional context about people, the salesperson on the shop floor, a product in our hands (using RFID) etc. This will take transparency to the next level.
Finally, a great question to ask in the course of this discussion of the future and change is what doesn’t change. For example, rituals are culture conservers. How can marketers embed their product within timeless (or emerging rituals)? How can marketers create new rituals that resist change and support their product? Sometimes we can lose sight of things that don’t change when we focus on trends too closely.