Excerpts from John’s interview about digital transformation. “Basically, I’ve always been a huge fan of technology. I read science fiction when I was a kid and have always been fascinated by computers and networks and the Internet. What I have come to notice is technology, up to very recently, was something that happened then in California. Somebody made a computer, created a network, they created a website. What’s happened? I don’t know if you’re familiar with Moore’s Law. Moore’s law is a concept that the digital processing power doubles every 18 months or more as they improve the chips.
Basically, computers get to be more and more powerful every year, where my first computer was a 38-pound compact luggable portable and now I have 100,000, million, I don’t know, times more power on my iPhone than I did back on that computer. So that’s what’s happening with technology. Changing, doubling in power every year and a half is the rate of change is staying the same, but basically as you get those multiplier effects the curve starts to look like this. Suddenly the rate of change hasn’t changed, it’s still doubling every 18 months, but its impact on society and its impact on the economy has increased dramatically.”
Digital Transformation Is Like A River
“And so what’s happening now is—I’ll use this analogy, we’ve got the Mississippi river not far from here. If you go downtown and look at the Mississippi river what you’ll see is a big, fast-flowing river which is carrying boats and everything else along pretty quickly, that would be a good analogy to what’s happened down at Silicon valley. Lots of rapid change but again it’s cool when you know what it’s all about. If you go down to Louisiana, go to Atchafalaya Basin, where the Mississippi used to actually spread out, you’ll see all of a sudden water everywhere. It doesn’t look like it’s moving as fast. What’s happening is affecting a whole lot more geography. Well, the same thing is going to happen to business.”
Digit Transformation Will Impact Every Business
“This technology is suddenly affecting not just technologists, but every business. Initially, folks involved in white collar services are going to be affected. Essentially, the computer power is increasing so rapidly. Everybody talks about robots, well you don’t need robots for technology to replace people. And so what’s happening is we’re developing digital systems that do things that people used to do.
So suddenly we will see lots of things done with computer power, that formally had to be done with armies of staff. Think about the insurance industry, which has million people at white collar jobs as those jobs suddenly get replaced by digital technology. It’s really going to transform that industry.”
Uber – How Digital Transformation Is Eating The Taxi Industry
“If you look around what’s going on in the economy today, a great example is Uber. I’m sure everybody’s tried or will try Uber. It’s a great service. If you’re like me, you were never very happy with the taxi cab industry, but you never dreamed that it was going to go like hitch a hike, get a ride. Well all of sudden, in three years, every taxi cab company out there is in danger because of Uber.”
Digital Transformation Lessons
“So, the lesson for entrepreneurs is, as far as we’re concerned, is number one, make sure you understand what’s going on in your industry and not just with your competitors but with this 18 year old kid out in Silicon Valley who really wants to eat your lunch and is working 24/7 to do so. Most likely, what you need to be thinking about is, ‘okay, I’m going to either figure out how to embrace it, maybe I’ll end up buying some technology from them.’ That might not be enough. I may need to actually be a leader in this transformational change.”
More About John Slater and Focus Investment Banking LLC
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Thank you to Butler Snow Advisory for providing a location to film our Memphis interview series.