6 Lessons in Seeing into the Future
Technology is full of hype and buzzwords. It can be challenging to separate the hype from the real opportunities. By the time something hits the evening news or the band wagon is going by, its too late. So how do you identify the next big thing before it’s already big? That is exactly the question Leonard Lee of neXt Curve answers for his clients. He is a research analyst who has taken traditional analyst firm approaches and thrown them out the window. And, he has done it with good reason.
Things are changing too quickly to use traditional technology research methods. To get ahead of hype cycles, you need to think different and act different. That’s exactly what Lee’s enterprise Information and Communications Technology (ICT) clients are doing with his help. Lee launched neXt Curve a little over a year ago and the company is growing quickly because it is approaching research in a whole new way. Lee took time out of his schedule to share a few of his secrets and lessons he has learned in the growth of his technology research startup.
LESSON 1 – Look at the points of convergence
It is easy to get sucked up on a single trend, but the opportunity is often found at the points of convergence between emerging markets says Lee.
“We find the points of value in the prevailing hype,” says Lee. “Plenty of people cover the smartphone market and the server market, but who within a traditional analyst organization is looking at the intersection points between those and other markets? We look to answer specific questions for our clients, not deliver general information about a single technology market segment. The objective is to cut through the hype and dig deep to find the opportunities before it’s on the evening news,” shares Lee.
LESSON 2 – Work with people that have battle scars
For enterprises, technology is moving so quickly that the changes are starting to outpace the hype. It’s becoming impossible to keep up, let alone stay ahead of the cycles. Lee suggests one of the best ways to stay on top of the next wave of innovation and disruption is to work with people that have battle scars from past revolutionary changes.
“Our job is to figure out what direction our clients should go next. We help them define how to architect the transformation of their organizations and gear their products and services to capitalize on new, emerging market opportunities. I like to refer to it as farm to table research and advisory services because we are starting from the seed of a question, planting the seeds, identifying the growth, harvesting and enjoying the final product of our work. It’s an ongoing cycle,” says Lee.
“The best part is that we are a team of technology and industry veterans that has the battle scars of 20 or more years of technology evolutions, revolutions and disruptions. The team has all been through many cycles. We have seen the patterns. We have been through the ups and downs. This puts us in a position to be able to know the right questions to ask to get answers that will provide a clear direction,” continues Lee.
LESSON 3 – Be Beyond Passionate and a Little Arrogant
If you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, who will be? It’s an age-old rhetorical question. It rings as true today as it did when it was first uttered. You must have a passion for what you are doing.
“Being passionate makes a big difference, and you need to develop a degree of arrogance. Here’s the thing, the passion drives your outward convictions. And, you are going to need passion and convictions to get through the lows. You need a bit of arrogance – the belief that you can do it better than anyone else – because the journey is humbling. You need to have amazing fortitude to make it through at least the first year of entrepreneurship,” recommends Lee.
LESSON 4 – Be prepared to change course constantly
In a changing technology world, change is, well, inevitable. When you start something new amongst the change, you will learn things you didn’t anticipate along the way. Being ready, willing and able to shift gears, and do it quickly because this will be a defining factor.
“You have highs. You have lows. There’s no safety net. You need to be prepared to change. You need to be very adaptable. If you can get through that, there’s something really nice at the end of that journey. I haven’t built a business of my own since I was in high school. I need to commend the entrepreneurs out there. They have courage,” expresses Lee.
LESSON 5 – You must give
One of the most effective ways to be remembered is to do something for someone without expecting repayment. It goes a long way in business and in life. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in what you are trying to accomplish and forget to stop and take the time to support others in their goals.
“People remember you when you go out of your way to help them. It is so odd how opportunities come to you. It’s usually the things you never even thought would be opportunities. Yet, often there’s a connection back to something you did to help someone out at some point in the past,” says Lee.
LESSON 6 – Watch Out for Misguided Hype
The information available today is limitless. This is great, but there’s also a lot of misguided information out there. Anyone can publish anything and present it as reality. Fake news in the technology industry isn’t uncommon. Separating the hype from opportunity is challenging.
“It is dangerous. There are plenty of people that write about technology, but they can give bad advice and set dubious expectations. Leaders need help identifying what is coming next. They need powerful insights that are derived from multiple lenses on the evolution of the ICT markets and digital technologies. It takes a holistic view,” concludes Lee.
Let’s review the lessons we can take from Leonard.
- Look at points of convergence
- Work with people that have battle scars
- Be beyond passionate and a little arrogant
- Be prepared to change course constantly
- You must give
- Watch out for misguided hype
Lee’s unique approach to technology research is paying big dividends for neXt Curve clients. They are excited about his company’s fresh views and insightful outputs. Being right about what’s next certainly isn’t easy, but with the right questions, focus, research, experience and tools, getting headed in the right direction gets much easier.
Don’t miss upcoming webcasts and events with neXt Curve. The next webcast is “How to Gain Maximum Value from Closed Loop Automation (CLA)”. Visit the events page to sign up.
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