Lunch on Monday this week was a real treat. First, I went out to lunch which is always a favorite. Second, I went out to lunch! Wahoo! Getting out of the house is such a relief. And third, I got to spend the time with Ray Wang, founder and CEO of Constellation Research. That guy runs an idea a minute with one hand tied behind his back.
Ray just wrote his third book called Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Certainly a provocative title. And as a dedicated sci-fi fan, I appreciated how he wrote it with an eye to telling a story of big economic, social and political change over a multi-decade period with a focus on predicting the future ahead of us. He even threw in the Singularity into his final chapter which I found the most enjoyable chapter as he explored how the next generation of monopolistic (or duopolistic, in this case) companies will rise and fall.
In the book, Ray lays out the case how modern business is rapidly transitioning to a world of tech winners and tech losers. The tech winners (and there will only be a few) will build new products and business models around what he calls "data-driven digital networks" where companies will leverage data (customer data, product data, environmental data, economic data, name your favorite data) to laser in on the perfect product and customer experience and squelch the competition. In doing so, only one or two companies will emerge in each market to dominate the scene and create a "duopoly".
Behind this somewhat alarmist (and thought provoking) view of the future of business success, he also laid out a series of very insightful approaches to building that next market-dominating company leveraging data in unique ways. I really enjoyed the book. And I really enjoyed debating with Ray whether his view of the next twenty to sixty years of data-driven duopolies will play out the way he forecasts. Ray is never one to back down from a debate and we enjoyed a lively discussion over Bacon Candy and Arnold Palmers at Lazy Dog in Cupertino.
Check out the book on Amazon. It won't disappoint!