Generation Gapping

William Gibson’s cyberpunk line in Neuromancer, “Don’t let the little fuckers generation gap you,” is surely every tech corporation’s credo:

How can retail, publishing, media, automotive, etc. stay relevant and revenue rich with a new generation of consumers?

Big topic! Tech disrupting industries. Where should we start?
I always like to start in the past. We are so fixated on innovation that we forget where we came from as industries. Retail for example is so excited about store-of-the-future, new-age gadget for the shopping aisle, that they have forgotten good old relationship building skills.
When the Instacart guy comes to your door, you have a digital relationship with him - the dusty store is dis-intermediated. The store seems to have lost it ability to connect to its consumer. Maybe we need to build a store-of-the-past to walk the shopkeeper through?
While that is fine to say, the store’s margins are being squeezed by the cloud. Retail, publishing, media etc are all too fat to compete?
None of the incumbent industries will win by adopting the same gadgets and technology as their cloud competitors. Their edge is looking for the next wave of disruption.
For example while Walkmans innovated with smaller, waterproof, shockproof units, MP3s entered the market and iPod won the industry by simplifying content on two screens (large screen to select and small screen to play.)
For example Bill Gates had failed with the first tablets using clumsy styluses. Then Steve started the pinch and zoom (finger) revolution saying “We’re going to use a pointing device that we’re all born with – born with ten of them. ”
There is EVOLUTIONARY tech progress and this is always followed by a REVOLUTION that pivots the industry.
So what is the revolution that folk need to look out for in this generation?
I would say that while everyone thought Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) would be the next big thing, I think we all feel that AR and VR were evolutionary steps from pinch and zoom and that VOICE is the next revolution.
We all thought putting connected devices in our stores and cars was aspirational: smart homes, smart stores, smart cars. And then a prosaic technology shows up in the kitchen and suddenly it becomes the gateway master.
Voice as a data gateway is the next big thing. We have pivoted from connecting to controlling.
CONNECTING to CONTROLLING. It is sort of the master puppeteer of data?
Master puppeteering! Exactly. It is one-upmanship of data control. Plug your credit card into your Amazon one-click and now Amazon owns the customer wallet and the data. Amazon Echo does that same in the home.
When a young girl can order a dolls house with out knowing it. And then a media service reporting on the incident orders more dollhouses inadvertently in homes tuning into the TV broadcast, we know we have a revolution on our hands.
We all know that business succeeds or fails based on the last mile or final foot of consumer engagement. Instacart, UBER, Amazon are all good examples. You cannot push to the front of the line using the same tools. Someone will always do it better.
Google created Android operating system allowing it to dominate the global data market.
Waymo is out there defining the software for the autonomous car. Amazon Go is creating the cashierless store. These companies, like Android, will license software, aggregate data and upsell services. They (if successful) will become the master puppeteers.
The trick is not to lose control of your consumer data. Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are using their platforms to generate huge amounts of data that give them a leadership position. They commoditze any company down the food chain.
So in order to not “let the little fuckers generation gap you” (Gilbson) you need to jump the line and find a tech that redefines the relationship between you and the consumer?
Exactly. Redefine the relationship via the channel: making it easier of the consumer to reach you. Like water, the consumer will always select the path of least resistance, greatest ease ... stylus, touch, voice, etc.
The innovator that optimizes the path wins the spoils of battle :)