Silicon Valley is more than a place, it’s a movement. While many debate where the “next” Silicon Valley will gain prominence, the point that many onlookers miss is that innovation is at the heart of the crusade. Whether it’s in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, India, et al., innovation is global and its sole purpose is to disrupt our way of life…for the better of course.
Just because things have always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean we couldn’t improve it…
Why couldn’t we try it this way?
What if we developed something that finally allowed us to…
There’s no reason this couldn’t be done better to improve…
These are just a few of the scenarios that drive entrepreneurs and inspire investors to bring ideas to life. And some of those ideas generate enough momentum to change behavior, create new opportunities, solve problems and earn big payouts in the process.
I once proclaimed that I couldn’t imagine a day when SnapChat would see an acquisition offer of more than the $3b Facebook brought to the fledgling startup’s doorstep. Shortly thereafter, Facebook acquired WhatsApp, a mobile messaging network, for a mind-numbing $19b.
With 450 million regular users sending 20 billion messages per day, WhatsApp is demonstrating in real-time how disruption emerges out of nowhere. This phenomenon, as Orange Silicon Valley, the Bay Area division of the French telecommunications company, sees it as a new billion dollar hunt for digital “unicorns.”
This acquisition led Orange to study 60 companies that Orange calls according to The Wall Street Journal, “unicorns—a new type of legendary startup” with rapid growth and a rapidly growing valuation that doesn’t look like startups of the past.
The report is intended in part to explain what is happening in Silicon Valley so the rest of the world can learn from it.
Chris Arkenberg and Ken Yeung of Orange reached out to me as they were deep in the research process to discuss disruption and what lies ahead. More so, I wanted to offer guidance to big and small companies alike to better understand how innovation isn’t limited to startups or locales. What entrepreneurs are to startups, intrapreneurs are to the enterprise. They are leading a new genre digital transformation, a renaissance of sorts that allows bigger companies to compete in connected markets.
Whether you’re in a startup or leading digital transformation efforts, I wanted to share my conversation with the Orange team with you here.
Your work explores the impacts of what you call Digital Transformation. What does this mean for companies trying to keep up?
If you attempt to compete for the future, if you invest in new technologies to meet the needs of your market, then you will win. But there’s a more prominent part of Digital Transformation that comes from how you and I are changing as a result of technology’s impact on our lives. That’s where a lot of innovation can occur. Innovation has less to do with technology than it has to do with how you think about the opportunities to evolve or to create. I’ve found in most cases that change doesn’t start from the top down. You have to rely on the change agents to create a sense of urgency from the bottom-up and then win over executives in order to drive change from the top-down. That’s really how a culture of innovation starts.
How can older incumbents adapt to the change and disruption? Can they evolve and play on this field without getting run over?
A lot of organizations today are very stubborn. They have cultures that are more management-driven so they are optimized to scale and to grow based on the world that is and the roadmaps that exist today. It takes a culture of innovation and resilience to be able to even think you have something to learn in the first place. When you have a leadership infrastructure that’s really focused on today, they aren’t necessarily in touch with how things are changing. Until leadership leads, the culture is going to have to adapt slowly.
What’s your perspective on Unicorns and the new tier of billion-dollar-plus valuations?
When you talk about spotting a Unicorn, we tend to get caught up in trying to find the next thing based on historical performance, traction in the marketplace, investment dollars, investors, founder teams. But these factors aren’t enough to find a Unicorn. What’s going to help you find a Unicorn is digital anthropology, to recognize an opportunity based on behavior. It’s what I call the Dilemma’s Innovator. It’s solving problems and creating opportunities based on unmet needs.
$19 B is an exorbitant amount of money to pay for WhatsApp, for example. It’s going to create an unfair bar because people are going to look at the users, the potential revenue, and the valuation instead of the reasons why WhatsApp is what it is and why Facebook bought it. WhatsApp is special because it addresses a market need that was unaddressed. Text messaging and iMessage weren’t meeting the needs of the younger generation.
Facebook famously said that “we want to be the dial tone for the internet”. That’s a really big statement. That means that they want to change how people communicate. If you really extrapolate what $19B means, maybe at some point you’re not going to have a phone number. You’re going to have an IP address. You’re going to have something that’s unique to you regardless of the device or the platform. That’s a powerful future to consider. It’s a $19B bet on that.
What you should keep in mind when evaluating your company’s social business maturity.
How every company should evaluate itself against consumer privacy concerns.
Altimeter’s latest benchmark study on how companies are using social media to further their business results.
A new report from eMarketer predicts that by 2017, Instagram ad sales will cross $2 billion in ad sales.
What both consumers and businesses can learn from the Ashley Madison cheating website data breach.
The start of a new era for Altimeter Group.
A new survey by Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud highlights the challenges marketers face in using Big Data platforms.
Understanding the full implications of being connected everywhere and anytime.
The way Pinterest discloses its data use practices is a great example for brands.
A new survey by Altimeter Group reveals just how concerned consumers are about connected devices accessing and utilizing their personal data.
Brian Solis speaks with Entrepreneur Magazine’s Jason Ankeny on the future of business.
The essential guidelines all businesses need to follow for the ethical collection, use and sale of data.
New updates to Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder platform now allow users to map customer journeys across sales, service, marketing and custom apps.
How to get your business noticed in a sea of content and media.
Was Twitter wrong for taking down “Politwoops?”
Jessica Groopman’s guest post for the TRUSTe blog.
With “Buyable Pins,” brands can now use Pinterest to directly sell their products to consumers
The Apple CEO delivered a scathing critique of companies misusing customer information.
Altimeter’s resident Internet of Things expert Jessica Groopman talks with UnboundID’s Emeka Obianwu.
Altimeter’s latest consumer survey focuses on privacy in the new age of connected devices.
Why leaders are so hesitant to engage digitally, and what they can do to overcome that fear.
Salesforce is fielding inquiries from potential buyers, one of whom may be its biggest competitor, Oracle.
If customer experience is based upon data, the first step is earning their trust.
How to start crafting optimal customer experiences in the Internet of Things.
The three key benefits sensors can offer retailers for using IoT to drive loyalty.
The implications of Twitter turning off the tap for one of its biggest data partners.
At its annual conference, Marketo launches real-time, automated messaging capabilities for mobile apps, along with new advertising and IoT tools.
Why the competition between the big marketing cloud vendors shouldn’t be the focus of their clients.
In this 1-hour webinar, industry analysts Susan Etlinger and Rebecca Lieb share their latest research on Content Marketing Performance.
Does Facebook’s restriction on its huge data sets serve the public interest?
Oracle announces long-awaited web, data, and commerce integrations for its Marketing Cloud, highlighting its big ambitions for a unified offering of all its enterprise platforms.
The impact of IBM’s partnership with the Weather Company and its mammoth investment in IoT.
A look at the growth of Beacon devices and their impact on consumers.
Facebook is emerging as an even bigger threat to YouTube by announcing some attractive new features for its video platform.
Five definitive use cases illustrating how companies can use sensors to enhance customer experience.
A look at the digital ethics and privacy conversations from this year’s SXSW conference.
How leaders can make the most of the biggest digitally-focused event of the year.
Why won’t Apple focus on the actual use cases for Apple Watch instead of how it looks?
I recently partnered with Genesys to explore the state and future of customer experience (CX).
Sprinklr is taking on the marketing cloud bigwigs with the release of its Content Lifecycle Management platform.
The reasons you need to attend Internet of Things World.
We match up Hillary Clinton’s actions against our social business governance framework.
The CEO of Altimeter Group has a new book out which contains essential guidelines for how leaders can engage employees and customers on digital channels.
What leaders need to do to earn the trust of their employees and consumers in the digital age.
A new law banning the collection of personal information in South Africa could influence legislation in other countries as well.
What social media teams need to do to get tweets showing up in Google search results.
How companies can use the Internet of Things to create experiences that benefit both the brand and its customers.
Customer experience is meant to be evocative, not reactive, and the current state of call centers isn’t helping.
A list of essential do’s and don’t for vendors and their PR teams.
The implications of the Internet of Things is so much more than the immediate value of a shiny gadget that connects to the Internet.
A new startup called Locket is revolutionizing the way we use our mobile lock screens by turning it into a content and messaging playground.
DonorsChoose shows how simple targeted emails can produce great engagement across all digital channels.
A new book by Charlene Li tells today’s leaders how to start engaging their employees on the same digital channels as their customers.
NYT- and WSJ-bestselling author Charlene Li guides business leaders deeper than ever before into the uncomfortable and ever-changing terrain of the digital era.
Here’s the first, crucial step every organization needs to take before formulating its content strategy.
This year’s results have troubling implications for the technology industry.
The Internet of Things is the next big channel of engagement for brands, yet most of them still find it difficult to get on board.
The digital trends and practices that require the most attention from business executives this year.
We answer all the questions we couldn’t get to during our webinar on the mobile-only customer experience.
In this one-hour webinar, Susan Etlinger shares a framework on how to 1) extract insight from data and 2) in a way that engenders trust.
A look at the future of advertising in a world where the channels to view them are rapidly changing.
In this 1-hour webinar, join Jaimy Szymanski and Brian Solis for a discussion on how organizations can approach mobile design strategy through the lens of an evolving connected customer.
If you’re making the trek to Austin in March, we hope you’ll catch up with the Altimeter crew.
A look at what we give up and gain when we allow our lives to be turned into sources for data.
How content marketers can take advantage of the new partnership that allows tweets to show up in Google search results.
Successful IoT strategies the consumer product world can learn from B2B enteprises.
Sprinklr will be looking to its new COO to convince enterprise leadership of social media’s importance across the entire organization.
Brands aren’t the only ones who must adapt to a mobile-first audience.
Takeaways from all the advertising we saw on Super Bowl Sunday.
Here are five data questions about the Super Bowl that we’d like the answer to.
With a slew of new features, Facebook could be taking up more space in the video marketing mix.
This month, we welcomed Omar Akhtar as our Managing Editor, a role that we created to shepherd exciting new initiatives at Altimeter.
Microsoft’s cool new gadget could be a powerful tool in the hands of a business.
The inevitability of a mobile-only customer experience will have a big impact on how brands create and deliver content.
Why it’s not enough to simple be present on every digital channel
This week, the Altimeter team quietly moved from San Mateo to our new location in downtown San Francisco. We’re excited today to make the announcement official!
Highlights of what the Big Boulder Initiative accomplished in 2014, and its plans for the new year.
The essential steps you need to take to start building your customers’ mobile experiences.
A look at the best new startups to graduate from Alchemist Accelerator, an accelerator for enterprise collaboration tools.
Things you need to know before you consider spending on Snapchat.
CES 2015 showed that companies are building too many devices, and not focusing enough on the the value they can provide through connectivity.
Before you hire an outside agency to help your content marketing efforts, here are a few key questions you need to ask yourself.
Consumers will soon demand mobile-only experiences from the brands that engage them. Our report identifies the steps companies can take to start thriving in this new reality.
This document is just a first step toward setting context for the many disruptions of ubiquitous and complex data, but it includes preliminary frameworks to help us examine these issues in more detail.
Charlene Li and Jon Cifuentes share research on how leading organizations use social and digital technologies to create holistic employee engagement strategies that drive business impact and cultural change.
We evaluated the US Congress according to our social governance framework, and the results weren’t great.
The increasing number of collaboration tools is overwhelming employees. Here’s why companies need to simplify.
What you need to know about Facebook’s newly launched workplace collaboration tool, and the impact it could have in a highly competitive space.
These last few years have been an interesting ride. As fun as it has been, it is the next few years that will be the most telling and also transformative if all goes according to plan.
There is an elephant in the room when it comes to the Internet of Things. There is a critical element inherent to just about any IoT application that hardly ever sees the light of day in industry coverage of the topic.
Predictions? Humbug. Never done ‘em, never will. As a research analyst, predictions are antithetical to my methodology, which is research followed by analysis.
In my last post, I discussed some themes for 2015, one of which was an imperative for us as an industry to get serious about digital ethics.
In a late 2013 study, Gallup found that only 13% of workers actually feel engaged at their jobs. What’s worse is that 63% of the workforce is not engaged at all.
What will 2015 bring marketers? Rather than look into a crystal ball, we have only to look at the present.
When I published the first in a new series of reports exploring the state and future of Digital Transformation, it was almost the antithesis of a typical technology report.
I’m not generally a fan of annual predictions; they always remind me of a carnival in which you’re encouraged to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”; you almost never win the giant teddy bear.
Content marketing is hot, but it is not solely created by, inspired by, or used by marketing.
The story of the blind men and the elephant originated centuries ago in the Indian subcontinent. In the well-known parable, each man has limited context and therefore believes the elephant to be something different. One feels the trunk and thinks it’s a fountain. One touches the ear and thinks it’s a fan. Others think it’s […]
Employees are disengaged at work, and organizations have been exploring how social and digital technologies can address this problem.
For most of digital marketing’s relatively short history, personalization has been the ne plus ultra of sophisticated marketing.
Content. It’s not just for the marketing department anymore. These last few months I’ve been researching how organizations are forming, and benefitting from, what my co-author Jessica Groopman and I are terming a “Culture of Content.”
In this 1-hour webinar, Ed Terpening and Charlene Li share research on how successful organizations scale social business strategy and manage social media risk through a formalized governance system.
Companies recognize one of the big opportunities related to the proliferation of consumer channels and devices is to gain deep insights about their customers. Join Janrain and me this Wednesday for a conversation about the opportunities and challenges related to customer data and identity
In our latest research report, “A Culture of Content,” my colleague and co-author Rebecca Lieb and I present a framework for how organizations of any size can establish, evangelize, and foster a culture of content.
We can all pretty much universally agree that with native advertising comes the obligation of disclosure and transparency.
In our research and client work at Altimeter, one of the most misunderstood issues we see is social business governance.
When Facebook announced last week that it will soon become more difficult for brands’ page posts to appear in the news feeds of their friends, fans, and followers, the outcry was predictable.
Facebook is working on a new offering called Facebook at Work, according to the Financial Times.
Charlene Li and I are pleased to offer you Altimeter’s latest research report focused on Social Business Governance.
Every day, there’s seemingly yet another disruptive trend that emerges out of nowhere which affects consumer behavior and the future of everything along with it.
What goes into creating and fostering an organizational culture of content? As an analyst that’s the topic I’m currently researching.
What goes into the marketing process today, and what technology is required? Will a “Marketing Cloud” help coordinate efforts and drive efficiency? What are the alternatives?
We’re in the final stages of a new research report that is looking at the hot space of social selling, exploring how this nascent but quickly evolving approach to the sales process is being used by both sales and marketing teams with both trepidation and success.
According to Wikipedia, “marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product to customers, for the purpose of selling that product (goods or services.)” But that is what marketing used to be
Social selling has become a hot topic. Organizations in every industry are working feverishly to leverage social platforms and social networks for a number of reasons
As we didn’t have time to answer all viewer questions after the 2014 State of Digital Transformation webinar, we’ve included our responses to the top inquiries here.
In a moving talk, she explains why, as we receive more and more data, we need to deepen our critical thinking skills.
Marketers are struggling with a customer journey that has become more complex than ever. The journey is difficult to track across channels and devices. The infographic below illustrates the modern marketing cycle…
I crossed an item off my bucket list when I gave a TED Talk at TED@IBM on Sept. 23rd. The event was part of the new TED Institute, which partners with companies to create TED-curated events.
Altimeter and Capgemini Consulting to Collaborate on Thought Leadership, Research, and Global Consulting
For our latest report, Altimeter Group partnered with LinkedIn to study the importance of relationship building among the most socially engaged companies on LinkedIn. We found that, by using social technologies to improve relationships, businesses witness incredible results.
We’re excited to announce today that we’ve formed a strategic alliance with 7Summits — a social business agency specialized in creating online community experiences.
Now more than ever, content must be recombinant. This means a critical component of content strategy is the ability to rapidly dissemble, reassemble, reuse, repurpose, and remodel discrete elements of digital content.
This week, Facebook re-launched Atlas, the ad platform it bought from Microsoft last year.
Content Marketing: How do we do it globally?
Altimeter’s recent research for its report, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, uncovered that investing in new digital technologies (social, mobile, big data, cloud, etc.) doesn’t always equate to uniting those efforts around a common vision supported by an updated, integrated infrastructure.
Yesterday, Oracle’s new CTO Larry Ellison kicked off OpenWorld. He focused significantly on the cloud. How are the two themes related?
Ten years ago today, I wrote my first blog post, entitled “Blogging as a State of Mind.”
Altimeter Group is planning to publish a research report this fall on how businesses are enabling sales organizations with social media tools. We will be discussing the markers for social selling transformation, best practices on training and governance, and a snapshot into the suite of tools available as marketing and sales organizations are pushed to […]
As part of our open research process, I would like to extend an invite for your input, feedback, case examples, or any other insights you’d like to contribute to our upcoming research around the Internet of Things.
Today, we’re happy to officially announce the launch of our new site, designed by digital marketing firm Bluetext.
A genuine culture of content goes far beyond enabling and empowering content creators outside of marketing.
In this one-hour webinar, Brian Solis shares research on how businesses explore digital transformation, including results from a 2014 survey of leading digital strategists.
We’re pleased to announce that Susan Etlinger, Brian Solis and Rebecca Lieb are each speaking at this year’s event.
While most of the tech and business press focused on the functionality of the Apple Watch (digital crown, battery life, taptic engine, yadda yadda…) discreetly milling around the event were the fashion press, invited by Apple’s new fashion and design team.
In this 45-minute webinar, analyst Rebecca Lieb shares best practices for your content marketing software selection process.
Digital Darwinism is a fate that threatens most organizations in almost every industry. Because of this, businesses not only have to compete for today but also for the unforeseeable future.
Our research found that the content marketing space is rife with challenges, both internal to the organization and externally across the ecosystem. The following infographic helps visualize this struggle.