Cleve Gibbon

content management, content modelling, digital ecosystems, technology evangelist.

From Cash Wallets to Digital Wallets

Digital wallets are on the rise.  In year COVID – 2020 – digital wallets surpassed cash as the number one payment at all point-of-sales globally.  That’s a big deal. But what are you and I using now instead of cash?

Cash was King

I’ve got a baby on the way. So my wife and I are changing things up at home.  We’re buying and selling furniture. Nesting if you will.  My wife posted a sofa on Facebook Marketplaces for $3000 and Brian said he wanted it.  

Brian> Cleve, do you mind if I come over at 10:30 am to take a look 

Cleve> Sure, no problem Brian

Brian> Awesome, I’ll see you then!

11:30am and Brian rocks up at all flustered and wet.  It’s raining.  Wife and U-haul in tow.  

Brian> Had an absolute nightmare withdrawing $1,500 from a Bank of America ATM

Cleve> How come?

Brian> Typically, we don’t withdraw this amount of cash.  Fraud checks and all.  Took me an hour on the phone to get the cash.  But here it is.

This was literally my first cash transaction since moving to America back in October 2019.  I was happy for Brian but confused as to why he was using cash. I said nothing.  My wife and I showed them our sofa and they agreed to buy it.  

Brian> Right, the downpayment.  Please count it, I’ll feel better that you do.

Brian stuffed the dollars into my hands and asked me to count them. I did as instructed.

Cleve> Okay, all good!

Brian> Super, where’s the nearest ATM so I can get the remaining cash.

Towards digital wallets

I pointed Brian towards the nearest ATM five minutes up the road, and they were gone!  45 minutes later and still no sign of Brian.  In the meantime, we sold another sofa, paid using Venmo (a digital wallet), the buyers had collected and gone.  Okay, Brian’s back!

Brian> That was a nightmare. We couldn’t get any more cash out.  We’re at the limit for today.

Cleve> Yeah, it doesn’t matter what ATM you go to, the limit is the limit!

Brian> However Cleve, I can use Zelle.  It’s a digital wallet I never knew I had on my phone.

Cleve: Interesting. Zelle works for me.  Do you want my cell number?

Brian> Yeah, that’s it, all you need to give me is your cell number.

So Brian and I stand side by side – we didn’t need to do this but did – and in 60 seconds we’re done.  

Brian> I had no idea I had a digital wallet, literally on me all the time.  Why would anyone go to an ATM?

Why indeed?

The Cashless Future

So going forwards Brian will double down on his new digital wallet.  For me, I have the added challenge of going into the bank branch to deposit Brian’s first cash payment of $1,500.   Today, cash is hard to work with.  However, as more and more people with mobiles unlock their digital wallets, increase the number of transactions through them, the future of banking will truly become decentralized. 

Imagine that. Imagine.  That!

It’s not just about the tech

Have you ever heard someone say, “it’s not just about the tech“?  Yes, you have.  In fact, it’s more like, how many times?  Now think back to the context in which technology was presented in that way.  This isn’t a magic trick, but I already know. Technology was put down to better position something else. To sell something.  Raise something up an agenda. To make a point.  To change a mind. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Technology “versus” mindset is a common tactic to advocate for something that isn’t technology.

I’m a technologist.  And technologists know that technology enables something.  It’s seldom a versus situation.  More a “plus” mindset.   So technologists tend to roll their eyes when we hear technology pitted against something.  Frankly, it’s a dated, naive (verging on silly), and uncompetitive way to position technology in the world today. However, things are changing.

What’s changed?

Technology enables so many things that we rely upon everyday to get stuff done.  Ordering groceries.  Buying clothes.  Texting.  Playing music.  Watching movies.  Gaming.  Video chatting.  Table stakes!  And when COVID hit in 2020 our reliance on technology reached all time highs. Onwards and upwards. 

The value of technology is no longer in question.  Technology kept the human race connected through a pandemic.  

What needs to change?  

Whether you’re a technologist or not, think of technology with a plus not a versus mindset.  Technology enables something. It strives to adds more, not takeaway. Yes, we have to adapt. And no, it’s not gong to be easy. But in which mindset do sit?

Versus: It’s not just about the technology, we have to consider the people and processes to deliver better customer experience.

Or

Plus: Technology makes our people and processes smarter to deliver better customer experiences. 

I urge you to favour plus over versus.

Summary

When you hear the versus narrative for technology, please call it out.  I do.  Change the story.  Be inclusive. Make technology a tool for good whether you’re a technologist or not. Why? Because collectively we have a bigger challenge now demystifying technology. The world sees its true value.   Closing that gap requires technologists and non-technologists alike to adopt a plus mindset to help technology make a better world for us all. 

Technology Cost Declines

What is the best way to forecast technology cost declines? And why is that important?

Well if you can accurately predict cost, you can better plot growth. Moreover, if that cost is technology – a massive engine for exponential growth – we can make smaller and smarter investments, earlier and more often, to maximise future returns.

Forecasting technology cost declines is important. Wright’s Law and Moore’s Law have guided our technology industry here. So meet the minds behind them. Who are they and what did they say?

Theodore Wright

In 1936, whilst studying airplane manufacturing, Theodore Wright (on the left) discovered that:

For every doubling of airplane production the labor requirement was reduced by 10-15%

He stood on that observation for Wright’s Law, that states:

For every cumulative doubling of units produced, costs will fall by a constant percentage

Now units can be anything. Cars, pizzas, batteries, phones, transistors. Anything! Now hold that thought and let’s step over to Moore’s Law.

Gordon Moore

In 1965, whilst working at Fairchild Semiconductor, Gordon Moore came straight out and said:

Every two years, doubling transistor density would consequently result in halving of computation costs

And so the great race to cram as many components onto circuits began. And it has served the technology industry well, particularly Intel, for many years. Not any more?

What changed?

Transistor production declined. Costs plateaued. Consumer demand is changing. So research units started to question Moore’s Law. One of those units was ARK, a leading hedge fund. ARK found that a priced based on Wright’s Law is 40% more accurate than one based on Moore’s Law. Take a look at their data:

So, what are you looking at? We’re going back and re-applying both laws to semiconductor production. We see that Wright’s Law (above the line) is more accurate most of the time than Moore’s Law (below the line). But why?

Comparing the Laws

Moore’s Law is cost as a function time. Wright’s Law is cost as a function of units produced. Put another way, Wright’s Law forecasts technology costs declines based on tangible outputs. Not time. So, the more things you produce, the more you understand, the lower yours costs. And it’s proving to be a better way to forecast technology cost declines.

Closing out

We are all looking for exponential growth. 10% growth is good, but 10x growth great. Knowing where and how to apply technology to execute disruptive ideas is critical. However, demonetisation (make cheaper), dematerialisation (make smaller), and democratisation (make accessible) of technology requires that we get a firm handle on our costs, and where the future declines lay. In doing so, you are not predicting the future, you are helping to shape it.

Luvvie Ajayi

Have you heard of Luvvie Ajayi Jones? I had the pleasure of joining a zoom call with her at a company summit. She was awesome. A comedian. Writer. Truth teller. So, that is Luvvie.

Instead of me telling you about her, I highly recommend you watch her in action. She killed it in a ten minute TED talk. If you want more, read her books. So:

  1. Watch her TED talk
  2. Read her book on I’m Judging You
  3. Read her new book on being a Professional Trouble Maker

Enjoy!

Business agility

Twenty years ago technical agility unlocked smarter ways to ship software faster. Did you that Amazon.Com releases code changes to meet customer needs every 12 seconds? Now, after a year of living with COVID, business agility is now the next mountain to climb.

Business Agility picture of teamwork

Growth is the term of the day. It’s important. But let’s not get distracted. Long-term, sustainable growth depends up a business that changes to meet new challenges. Now that’s business agility.

So, there are five ways to grow a business:

•   Increase revenue
•   Increase new business
•   Increase existing business
•   Increase shareholder value
•   Decrease cost

Surviving a pandemic has taught everyone to do more with less. And so decreasing costs is table stakes for ongoing business success. Moreover, a healthy mix of everything drives additional value for shareholders. So, sustainable business growth really relies on increasing revenue through new and existing business. This leads us to sales and the four key ways to sell:

•   New Products/Services to New Customers
•   New Product/Services to Existing Customers
•   Existing Product/Services to New Customers
•   Existing Product/Services to Existing Customers

So that means there are only two important considerations for the business:

•   Customers
•   Product and Services 

We know customers are constantly changing. Knowing your customer requires every business to continuously invest to understand them. Next, products and services must always meet the ongoing needs of the customer. Simple!

Business agility delivers the right products and services to customers. Hard! But, it is a critical differentiator in today’s competitive landscape. If you cannot adapt your products and services to match customer needs, the market is unforgiving. And COVID has made the market even flatter. Products and services are borderless. Increasingly digital. And accessible from anywhere, by anyone, at any time.

Please Keep It Simple

It’s hard to keep things simple. However, simple things get things done.

I was a long term user of Evernote. I used it for one thing; to take notes. On my desktop. Through the web. When traveling with my phone. Seamlessly syncing between my all devices. Simple note-taking was bliss.

But Evernote grew beyond my comfort zone. It added new features. Tagging. Presentations. Chat. Imports. Attachments. Exports. Reminders. Smart editing. Weblinks. All important things that helped organize, scale and make note-taking better.

But here’s the thing. Collectively, they didn’t keep note taking simple. Evernote pushed up against OneNote and Word. It made me stop and think, why Evernote? I could the same thing with Word and Dropbox. Overnight I just stopped using Evernote and fell back to notes on Apple. Why? Because I didn’t want reminders, or slideshows, and advanced editing. Simple note taking is still bliss.

So therein lies the dilemma with (productivity) tools that extend in perceived areas of growth. As soon as remove choice by going all-in, you risk customers going all-out! Personal productivity is predicated on keeping choice firmly within the hands of the consumer.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying Evernote is a bad tool – far from it – but it doesn’t serve the same simple purpose I bought into nearly ten years ago; simple note-taking.

In Five for Five

Image that says later or now and checks the now box

I procrastinate. I know when I’m doing it but struggle to avoid it.

However, I hate not getting things done more than I love to procrastinate. So I found this technique to just get me started. I’m calling it the In Five For Five rule.

When you next have something you know you have to do but don’t ever seem to get round to doing it, try this:

  1. In five minutes, commit to starting the task.
  2. For five minutes, just do the task.
  3. After five minutes, stop doing the task if want to.

Here’s the thing, nine times of ten, you complete the task! In Five For Five gets you over your own mental start hurdle. It doesn’t matter what the task is – washing the car, writing an article, something at work, cleaning the oven, doing the laundry, shopping, organizing photos – you get it done!

Try it. At the very worst, you get five minutes of something you’ve been putting off for a rainy day done today!

And do let me know how you get on 🙂

The 05 meeting rule

I’ve updated my simple meeting policy to include the 05 meeting rule.

My simple meeting policy shortens traditional 30-minute meetings to 25 minutes and 1-hour meetings to 50 minutes. However, that didn’t stop some meetings from overrunning and eating into that all-important extra 5 mins we were trying to protect for everyone’s peace of mind.

Last week a kind soul passed along this genius fix. I’m calling it the 05 meeting rule. It works beautifully with our shorter meetings policy. Applying the 05 meeting rule means starting your meeting 5 minutes later. That’s it! In doing so, a meeting starting at 9:05 and running to 9:30:

  1. Eliminates overruns. Meetings always end on time.
  2. Protected 5 mins. Take the time at the start to set up for success.

For one hour meetings, shortened to 50 minutes, the 05 meeting rule means that they are bookended with 5 minutes of your time.

Love it! One thing to watch out for thought. Let people know you’re doing this. If they don’t pay attention to the meeting invite and you don’t show up for 5 mins, they may drop off the call before you arrive. I try to get there a couple of minutes beforehand and say hey, chill out – be human – without it now eating into valuable, yet shortened, meeting time. Win-win!

Intelligent Transformation is Here

As I was clearing out my computer over the Christmas break I stumbled across these images that literally blew my mind. In 1956, it took an army of people, planes, trains, and automobiles to transport 5Mb storage from one location to another. Today, it would take 200,000 of those monster drives to hold the same amount of data as a $100 1Tb SSD disk the size of your fingertip. Thankfully, only a thousand IBM 305 RAMAC systems were built and sold for $160,000 in 195 (that’s $1.3m today’s money). A textbook example of digital innovation: dematerialize (make smaller), demonetize (make cheaper), and democratize (make accessible).

So, storage is cheap, commoditized, and cloud-based. Digitization has successfully pulled vast amounts of data from across the enterprise and consolidated it onto various digital media formats held on smart storage solutions. Digital transformation has helped make data accessible everywhere.

However, we are still evolving. We are now entering the Intelligent transformation era. Making data accessible useful and useable requires understanding. Hence, the increased focus on artificial intelligence and data science to accelerate gleaning insights from data. In doing so, we can scale making smarter and faster decisions with confidence.

Really looking forward to what humans and technology will accomplish together in 2021, with the right focus.

My Simple Meeting Policy

This is my simple meeting policy. With more virtual meetings, we need more time to recover between meetings.

To any meeting organizer, I will commit to:

  1. Arriving on time.
  2. Leaving on time.

To any meeting organizer, I need:

  1. An agenda in the invite.
  2. Proactive management of the agenda to the allotted time.

To any meeting organizer, I encourage you to:

  1. Shorten your meetings (25min, 50 mins).
  2. Start your meeting 5 mins after the hour (e.g. 9:05 rather than 9:00)
  3. Adopt a simple meeting policy, like this one.
  4. Encourage others to do the same.

Nobody likes:

  1. Meetings that start late.
  2. Meetings that overrun.
  3. Poorly managed meetings.
  4. Running between meetings.
  5. Meetings!

So if you have to have a meeting, please, make it simple!

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About Cleve Gibbon



I'm Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Wunderman Thompson where we are passionate about digital content.

My sort of up-to-date cv tells you my past, linked in shows you my professional network and on twitter you can find out what I'm currently up to.