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The Single Biggest Change Shaping Business Today (Thinks Out Loud Episode 257)

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The Single Biggest Change Shaping Business Today (Thinks Out Loud Episode 257) – Headlines and Show Notes

Speed is the single biggest change shaping business today. The pace of change, the speed at which customers experience and accept new innovation dramatically shifts customer behavior and business models alike. Customers expect quick, frictionless interactions with your business, which means that today, “Instant gratification isn’t fast enough.” And that’s why this episode of Thinks Out Loud breaks down why speed represents the single biggest change shaping business today.

Here are the show notes:

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Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 44s

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The Single Biggest Change Shaping Business Today (Thinks Out Loud Episode 257) – Transcript

Well hello again everyone, and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. Today is Wednesday, January 9th, this is episode 237 of the big show, and it's our first show of 2019, so Happy New Year everybody! I'm so thrilled you are here with us. This is so cool. I'm glad to be back, and I'm so excited about all of the stuff we are going to do together this year. 'Cause it's gonna rock.

Now, just before the holidays, I looked at whether a digital, the digital world in which we live, makes every company a technology company. I also took a big deep dive into whether digital will turn every business into a service. Now don't worry, I'm not going to recap those episodes in detail, you can listen to them, there will be links to those episodes in the show notes. I highly recommend you check them out.

What I do want to say is, that's gonna be a core theme we're gonna talk a lot about over the next handful of weeks and months, is how digital is not just shaping your business, but how it's shaping the world around you, and what that means for your business. And by far, I want to talk about the biggest issue that's facing companies today. The biggest change that is facing companies today. And in many ways the biggest challenge that is facing companies today. And that is speed. It's the speed that your customers expect in every interaction. It is the speed with which customers expect things to happen for them. I've said many times that instant gratification is not fast enough. And that's the world we live in now.

But here's a terrifying thought for you if you are remotely challenged with the speed at which change occurs today. And that is that change, right now, is slower than it ever will be again. Seriously. Because the pace of change, the amount of change, the speed at which change will occur isn't slowing down any time soon. It's only going to get faster.

Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean by that. You are undoubtedly aware that the Consumer Electronic Show is happening in Las Vegas right now, or at least as I record this, the Consumer Electronic Show is ongoing. And at the Consumer Electronic Show, all of the biggest technology companies in the world are rolling out their latest and greatest innovations. And the things that will shape customer behaviors, and customer desires, and customer demand over the next you know, eight, excuse me nine to twelve to 18 months or more.

Some of them undoubtedly are going to blow up in a good way, you know they're going to shape everything. Some of them, undoubtedly will fall by the wayside. I'm not here to make predictions as to what's going to win, and what's going to fail and all the sort of thing. I may allude to them over time. But you know the point is that what is very useful about CES, about the Consumer Electronic Show, is that you get a sense of the trends that are important to manufactures. In all likelihood because they are doing a pretty good job of interpreting the trends that are important to customers. I guarantee you, there's always gonna be one or two that kind of slip below the radar that don't emerge for a little bit. But, there's a pretty clear set of trends of things that are going on at CES right now, that highlight why speed is so important.

So just to take a look at these, we have things like AI. Obviously we've talked about AI here on the show a lot. I'm not gonna belabor the point. It's big, it's getting bigger, and it is a part of our world every day. We have voice computing with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and many others that are out there. Though obviously Google and Amazon seem to be winning the race, at least right now. We have Blockchain, which, I'm not gonna go down that rabbit hole right now. It's beyond the scope of today's episode. But it's clear that we're starting to see its place in advertising, currency, and the trust environment more generally emerge and begin to take more fixed shape, is something we're gonna watch very closely over the next few years. We have things like self-driving cars, which again, beyond the scope of the episode, beyond the scope of the show generally. But clearly something people are talking about.

If we want to get a picture of just one company, Google, all by itself, discussed how its mobile AI Google Assistant will be on over 1 billion devices by the end of this month, by the end of January. It's capable of replying to emails, checking consumers into flights, booking hotel rooms, translating conversations in real time from language to language. I mean, that's extraordinary. And this is something that customers are simply going to carry in their pocket. Remarkable, and an enormous, enormous change. And an enormous change in their expectations of how quickly things can happen. Alright? I don't have to go to my computer and translate a text, or get an email or get a text and find someway to translate that. I can simply translate the conversation on the fly.

Another crazy innovation at CES that has implications far beyond our ability to talk about right now is quantum computing. IBM introduced a 20 Qubit computer at the show. Now, quantum computing is well beyond the scope of today's episode. But it is likely that in the next decade or so, quantum computing will upend computing as much as computers upended the world before computers existed. Remarkable change, and remarkable pace of change. And bear in mind, this is the "consumer" electronics show. Right? These innovations are, at least in theory, designed for ordinary human beings. Do you think they're going to shape behaviors, and challenge business models as we go forward?

I do.

The takeaway is the change is happening faster than ever, and that pace isn't going to slow down anytime soon. And if that's the reality, if this is the biggest change that we have to deal with. If this is the biggest risk and the biggest threat, and the biggest challenge that businesses have to deal with, I think it's fair to ask, what's the right way to deal with the reality of this pace? And I think, ironically, it might be to slow down. You're never going to think faster than a computer. You're never gonna think faster than an AI. I'd argue, don't try to. Instead, take a minute. Stop. Think about what's important to you. Take a minute. Stop. And think about what's important to your customer. Think about where technology provides a positive benefit today, for you, for your business, for your customer. Think about where that technology helps your customer. Spend a lot of time on that. Think about what won't change.

Now, this was a topic of a past show, but I mean we know that people expect a great customer experience. We know that people expect quality products, or at least product that fit their specific needs. You know, quality has a lot of definitions in this context. It doesn't have to be the very best product. What it does have to be is the product that best fits their need at that time. We know that customers will continue to rely on helpful information. And yes, we know that customers will have increasingly great expectations of speed. Speed of delivery, speed of the encounter that they have with you. Reduced friction in those encounters that lets them get back to whatever else they have to deal with in their busy day. Right? You're not the most important thing in their world. You are simply something that enables them to do the things that are important in their world.

All of these things that won't change are why I'm continually saying that content is king, customer experience is queen, and data is the crown jewels. Because these are all critical components, critical support mechanisms of what won't change. They're what helps your customers accomplish their goals, and helps them succeed at what they want to do. And the way you succeed is helping them do that.

You also want to think about companies who have used technology well, and also think about the companies who've used technology badly. I've said many times on this show that when you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck, right? Digital is like gravity, it's got its positives, it has its negatives. But I would argue, and I have, that part of Facebook's big mistake over the last couple of years, is because they didn't slow down to think. They tried to move at the same speed as technology moves, and in doing so, forgot about the customer. Forgot about … And I know there's a whole debate that the customer at Facebook is actually the advertiser, and the users are as some people say, "If you're not paying for it, you are the product." But the point is, they certainly didn't take enough time to think about the user and what's most important to them.

So once you've thought about all this, what's important to you, what's important to your customer. Where technology helps you, where it helps your customer, the companies that do it well. The companies who've done it badly, and the things that won't change, then and only then, go find the technology that supports what's important to your business. To your customer. You know, and then ignore all the rest. All the rest is nonsense, its useless. It's not helpful. It's confusing. At least, for now, focus on your customer and your business, and how technology can bring those closer together, and create a better customer experience, and you will be in better shape.

Now, I've said many times, I've quoted many times William Gibson, science fiction author who said, "The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed." Well speed, speed of interactions, speed of change, speed of the customer experience is the future. It's also the present. Your customers expect speed. The pace of change is all about speed. Speed depends on technology. But more important, it depends on using technology well. It depends on putting the customer first. On focusing on creating the best experience, and not on tech for technology sake. And that's why speed might be the single biggest change that shapes business today. But, what really shapes successful businesses is how you use that to your advantage.

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. I'd like to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode, as well as an archive for all our episodes by going to Again, that's Just look for episode 237. While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have this delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe in iTunes, or the Google Play music store, or Stitcher Radio, or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or Thinks Out Loud, we should show up for any of those.

I'd also very much appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating or review while you're there, it's very helpful to us. I'd also like to thank our sponsor. We're brought to you by SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI driven content discovery, and sight search analytics to unlock revenue. You can learn more about how to improve your search results, your customer satisfaction, and how to make your search smarter by going to You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to On Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. Or via email, by emailing Again, that's

With that, I want to say thanks again so much for tuning in. I really appreciate it. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week. A great week ahead, and I will look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud again next time. Until then, please, be well, be safe, and take care everybody.

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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