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The value in spanning the gaps

For me, the real skill for the future is being able to bridge domain expertise.

Most companies tend to be good at one thing, Unilever is amazing at making great consumer goods, but it's not great at selling direct to consumers, it's not been designed to.

Marriott is amazing at running hotels, but not great at Branding nor Marketing

Hertz is amazing at paying it's C suite bonuses , but lousy at any required element of running a car rental company.

In particular, the main core competency gap is between the digital domain and the physical domain. Remarkably few companies seem good at both. Devialet make incredible speakers, but design horrendous glitchy apps to use them, rather like Sonos.

Sony, Samsung and LG make incredible TV's with terrible software and ugly User Interfaces.

Walmart makes a brilliant physical store, but it's digital experience is hampered by it's structure and politics.

Car companies excel at designing and assembling cars, but struggle with software.

Some companies do better than most, Google makes surprisingly good hardware these days, Microsoft makes amazing Laptops ( with ironically now terrible software) , Nike, Tesla, and of course Apple have shown whats possible when people come together to build Hardware and Software and increasingly Services, together. This is where the magic happens.

The same is even more true for people.

The main skill I offer is never depth of understanding in any area, but the ability to span the worlds of business and people, and technology a little bit.

I know enough about Business, not to run a company of any size, but to read a S1 filing, to feel at one with a P&L, to see the realities of unit economics, to understand the core priorities of companies.

I know enough about people, not to write ethnographic books, nor speak on anthropology, but to get a sense of prevailing behaviors, cultural movements, of the challenges and opportunities of what is it to be a human in different places, classes, ages and more, today.

I know enough about technology, not to write code, nor explain the differences between JSON and XML, but to understand the philosophies behind it and the implications of it. What are the implications of no code or advanced API's, what does edge computing make possible.

And with this, you see the magic happens at the intersections.

What does the Open Banking Standard really mean for a company, or a sector, or for consumers or other industries?

How can 5G change our lives, or business propositions?

What data can be derived from people, using tech, that companies can use to gain significant business advantages.

The most significant discoveries come from two places.

1)The edge of known domain knowledge, where deep expertise pushes boundaries in what is known

2) The intersections, what does X mean for Y

One of these is a LOT LOT harder to excel at.

It's less about generalists or the mythical polymath, it's simply being good enough at a few things and bridging them

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