For the last six years I’ve been examining and commentating on Digital Life Renaissance 2.0, the term that my partner, Steve Benton, and I coined to describe the world as we saw it emerging in late 2008, following our escape from corporate life to become independent analysts, advisors and entrepreneurs.
There’s probably never a good time to start a journey in life like this and, looking back with hindsight, this was probably the worst time we could have chosen! 2008 was the start of the global meltdown and, as a consequence, everyone was narrowing their focus on how to survive over the next 3 months. It didn’t matter whether you were a corporate CEO or employee, uncertainty and fear were a daily reality back then.
One of the most significant theories of networking is that everything is connected and that we’re only ever six connections away from someone or something. I was recently invited to DLD (Digital-Life-Design), an interesting “invite-only” conference in New York. This conference was initiated ten years ago by Yossi Vardi, a legendry Israeli entrepreneur, and managed by Steffi Czerny of the Hubert Burda Media Company; it has become a must-attend preamble to the Davos World Economic Forum. This year, DLD crossed the Atlantic for the first time, offering a high profile speaker and attendee list, and the conference covered an eclectic assortment of digital life topics from economics, monetization, media, brands, music, arts, to Internet of Things, neuroscience and consciousness.
After six years as an independent analyst examining the world of Digital Renaissance, I’ve clocked up well over 20,000 hours of knowledge and expertise in the area; I was therefore amazed to discover at the DLD conference two weeks ago that, as much time as I’ve invested here, I’ve only been skimming the surface of the phenomenal change that’s occurring. This was the first time that I’ve witnessed the real breadth of this change so succinctly exposed and exquisitely showcased as work in rapid progress.
The overwhelming impression that I came away with from the DLD conference is that there is not one aspect of the life that we’re living today that is not, has not or will not be touched by the digital force that’s consuming human thinking. The opportunities and possibilities have never been greater, and the urgency for us to understand and harness this knowledge is paramount.
So what is the “power of six” beyond my six years of learning and the six degrees of separation? “The Power of Six” was the theme of one of the DLD conference sessions that focused on the power of reductionism, to simplify and clarify in times of chaos. It’s the ability, as Hemmingway advised other writers, to “boil it down” and “know what to leave out”; the six word tag line of advertising that captures the essence of an idea. It’s translating this to Twitter where, if you can’t express your idea in a tweet, then you really don’t have an idea. In other words, with such rapid change occurring, it’s vital to simplify in order to help people grasp and understand what’s going on.
The power of six also refers to the persistently interruptive world that we have created with social media, email, messaging and online marketing that consumes our lives. Today, six seconds is often all the time you have to grab someone’s interest, and the six images that convey a broader story and context around those six words could well be critical to your success. The ability of the human brain to interpret and absorb images in order to comprehend the whole is greater than with words alone. Additionally, these images will probably be delivered on a screen of six inches or less, confirming that this really is a digital mobile world.
At the DLD conference, Scott Kurnit, CEO of Keep Holdings, identified that it took thirty seven attempts for him to repeat his message before his company finally embraced mobile, as opposed to relying on digital and web-only mechanisms for change. To me, this is “six to the power of six plus one”. In other words, I believe that persistence is the true key to success, particularly when faced with the evangelical task of converting people to a mobile mindset, and this has become my goal and the prime focus of my company, KeySo Global.
Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global LLC.