The Weekly Shufflepass - David DeWolf

The Weekly Shufflepass Episode #004: How Will People Celebrate You? [Podcast]

The Weekly Shufflepass is a series of short podcasts in which I talk about something that’s on my mind. They are quick tidbits. No frills. No production. Just helpful thoughts on how you can go, do something greater than yourself.

Video

http://traffic.libsyn.com/shufflepass/Episode_4_mixdown.mp3

Direct file download

It wasn’t the event I was expecting. In fact, it was life-changing. There was a tractor and kids and a big meal. But it wasn’t a picnic or a family reunion. It was a funeral.

How will people celebrate you at your funeral? Have you ever thought about it?

This week, I challenge you to consider that one thing you know you should be doing but you aren’t yet. What’s keeping you from doing it?

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Find the Element of Truth in Every Story - David DeWolf

The Best Way to Find “the Element of Truth” in Every Story

As CEO, I hear a lot. Of course, there’s a lot I don’t hear as well.

A while back I caught wind of a budding rumor about one of our employees. Supposedly this individual had wasted company resources and, in the process, had really put off a handful of employees. The messenger was quite annoyed, rolling her eyes and advocating for the professionalism of those who had “stood their ground” when tempted to participate.

Over time I have learned an important lesson. There is “an element of truth” within each and every story.

What’s often difficult to discern is which and how big the truthful element is.

In order to prevent politics, I have found that total transparency is essential. Whenever I hear a story, I deliberately share the information with the person affected.

Sometimes the story requires immediate action. Other times you can afford to do a little fact checking. Either way, I make it clear what aspects of the story I know as fact and which are clearly conjecture. I remind the subject that there’s an element of truth within the story and that it’s our job to figure out what it is.

For my “wasteful” employee, I first initiated a very casual investigation.

It turns out that several of the facts behind the story were accurate. The employee had deployed the resources as described, but with the benefit of context it was clear, without a shadow of doubt, that the spending was anything but wasteful. In fact, it was rather inappropriate and detrimental for the “put off” employees to not participate.

Despite debunking any wrongdoing, I still chose to disclose the gossip to the individual. The person deserved to know how their actions were perceived, that I had uncovered the truth, and had dealt with the issue.

Of course, I also confronted the messenger. It was essential for both the source and the messenger to understand the facts and how damaging their gossip could have been.

Transparency is also important when the spirit of the communication is accurate.

Last year I heard a different story about our team’s performance from the client than I had from my team. Our team perceived a “delighted” client. In reality, while ’satisfied,’ there were a couple of unaddressed issues that had spoiled the client’s ability to be truly delighted.

Again, I confronted the issue head-on, sharing with the team leader the exact words that had been passed along by the client and the perception they had because of it. I made it clear that while it represented only one data point, it was a valid data point that directly contradicted what she had previously shared with me. By confronting the disconnect and addressing the perception head-on, the employee was empowered with information and able to address the perception.

I am deliberate about being transparent with the feedback I hear and information I gather. I have seen firsthand, how holding back feedback — especially when it relates to a specific individual, or team — can be a driving force behind bad assumptions and politics. Too many leaders hold back, fearing that they do not have the complete picture. Rather than “protect” those that you lead, try trusting them and involving them in the process of discerning the “element of truth.”

If your employees don’t know what you know, trust will deteriorate, assumptions will grow, the left hand won’t know what the right hand knows, and silos, politics, and turf wars will creep in.

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A Warning for the Financial Services Industry - David DeWolf

A Warning for the Financial Services Industry: You’re on the Cusp of Disruption

Let this be your fog horn. The alarm is sounding.

The financial services industry is on the cusp of disruption. The economic pie that we’re so familiar with is in question. Brokerages may be in trouble. Mutual fund managers and wealth advisors should take heed. Banks may be in for it again.

Robinhood is now offering free trading.

In late 2014, Robinhood launched its online trading platform.

Many people see Robinhood as just another digital product. “It’s just new technology. We’ve seen this before.”

It’s not and no, we haven’t, at least not in this industry. This is not another E-Trade. While wildly successful, E-Trade introduced evolutionary innovation into the market. They introduced technology and automated a process in order to reduce the price and make it more widely available to the masses. They optimized the supply line.

Robinhood has changed the supply line.

While their platform is impressive and their customer experience slick, it is their financial model, not their technology, that the financial behemoths should be worried about. They figured out how to eliminate the middle man, and with it the cost to the consumer.

Robinhood is offering free trading. You can now buy and sell stocks for no cost.

Is this the beginning of the end for professional traders? Maybe for mutual funds? What’s next for wealth managers? Don’t laugh. It could happen now. This is how innovative disruption starts.

Robinhood’s traction exploded. Their waiting list exploding in just a few days as they worked to onboard new customers.

Everyone in financial services should take note.

Robinhood is more than a digital product. It is a disruptive business model that is digitally enabled. It has the potential to revolutionize the financial services industry.

This warning shot is fired in the midst of plenty of other uncertainty for the sector.

Disruptive momentum has been building within Financial Services for quite some time.

Multiple crowd funded startups have not only raised capital, but prevent that you can be successful without traditional Venture Capital in the early phases of the entrepreneurial life cycle. Bitcoin is becoming more and more popular. While some of us (read, me) still don’t get it, enough people are intrigued, and enough big companies are accepting it as payment, that they you can’t help but note the traction. Digital banks have been launched, promising to do for traditional banking what Robinhood has done for stock trading. The #IceBucketChallenge raised more money for a non-profit than most large scale capital campaigns. There’s no questioning whether digital transactions will be embraced.

Two decades ago, digital media startups began to disrupt the economic pie of the mass media industry. Many laughed, claiming that the large publishers were just “too big to fail.”

Is this the beginning of the end for the Financial Services Industry as we know it?

I don’t know, but I do know that in this digital age, if you don’t lead the disruption, you are at risk of being disrupted.

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The Weekly Shufflepass - David DeWolf

The Weekly Shufflepass Episode #003: Economic Proof that Disruption Is Here [Podcast]

The Weekly Shufflepass is a series of short podcasts in which I talk about something that’s on my mind. They are quick tidbits. No frills. No production. Just helpful thoughts on how you can go, do something greater than yourself.

Video link

http://traffic.libsyn.com/shufflepass/TWS_-_Episode_3.mp3

Direct file download

Disruption isn’t just a theory: it’s the reality of business right now. Even the Fortune 500, thought to be the most stable businesses, is being disrupted!

Leaders in businesses have to prepare for disruption by:

1. Listening to the customer, 2. Applying technology, 3. Thinking outside of the box, and 4. Moving fast.

Spend some time over the course of the next week and think about how you can disrupt your own business.

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CES 2015 Recap #2: Technology Will Engulf Us - David DeWolf

CES 2015 Recap #2: Technology Will Engulf Us

If you’re looking for the latest toy, coolest gadget, or weirdest picture, go ahead and check out another blog. There’s plenty of folks reporting on the sex and sizzle of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. For me, the week is more about collecting discrete data-points and connecting the dots — boiling them down into useful insights.

In this three-part series, I will share trends that I think will carry forward into 2015. In Part 1, I discussed how I see the Health and Wellness industries leaping forward in 2015.

We think we’re inundated with technology. We think of being surrounded as having a phone in our pocket, a pedometer on our wrist and a game console in our bag. We don’t have a clue. Today’s reality is to the future what a 2D movie is to real life.

Here’s why.

Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming the Internet of Everything (IoE).

Pointing out that the internet of things is for real would be like observing that the internet has changed the way we work. The sensors already exist and are deployed in the real world. The automated home. The connected car. While not mainstream, these IoT use cases are here to stay.

But this year is the year of IoE. Everything is becoming connected.  Pick any object in your sight right now, and, someone will likely experiment with a connected version of it this year. The connected ball room dress. The connected floor mat. The connected seat cushion. Everything will be connected.

In 2015 we will see an explosion of connected. It will bring about the second generation of the connected – IoT 2.0 is the IoE.

First generation IoT devices are moving from Invention to Innovation.

First generation IoT devices at CES finally felt baked. They had purpose. Their use cases were sound and their applicability clear. No longer were they providing data, they were providing insights and allowing immediate action. Their user experiences were intuitive and fully baked.

The next generation of IoT devices will have a clear value proposition. Mom won’t have to ask, “Why would you want that?” She may not like it, but she’ll understand it.  And because of that and advancements in form factors, they will begin to see mass adoption.

In 2015, while IoE devices explode, IoT devices will find a purpose and be used by the early majority. 

Droids are everywhere. Spider droids. Copter droids. Enough of the droids.

Robots are not new. Remote controlled vehicles have been around. Droids are exploding. There were more types of droids than you could count at CES. As folks like Amazon announce plans for commercial applications of remote controlled, connected and smart robots, more and more folks will begin to play with them. In the air. In the water. On the street.

The droid spottings that now make the news will no longer be news in 2016. It will be too commonplace. While the skies won’t yet be full, it will not be uncommon or surprising to see a droid whizzing by overhead, or weaving in and out on the street.

In less than 10 years, we’ll look like the Jetsons (yup, many of these things look like space ships, folks, and you’ll look up and be able to a dozen of them flying around at any point in just a matter of years).

2015 is the year that we begin to see droids in the air on a semi-consistent basis.

[comment]Technology will continue to explode in 2015. While it will blend into our normal everyday lives, it will also become even more predominant and will feel like it’s engulfing us. Are you ready for it? Or do you think it’s over the top already?[/comment]

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CES 2015: Health and Wellness to Leap - David DeWolf

CES 2015 Recap #1: Health and Wellness Industries Will Leap Forward

If you’re looking for the latest toy, coolest gadget, or weirdest picture, go ahead and check out another blog. There’s plenty of folks reporting on the sex and sizzle of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. For me, the week is more about collecting discrete data-points and connecting the dots — boiling them down into useful insights.

In this three-part series, I will share trends that I think will carry forward into 2015.

In today’s digital economy, if you’re not driving digital revenue streams, you’re at risk of major disruption. Some industries, like the Media Industry have gone through significant digital disruption already. Several others, like Financial Services seem to be on the cusp of an overhaul. But it is Health and Wellness industries that I believe may take the biggest jump forward in 2015.

Here’s why.

Wearables and fitness data has moved to health and wellness information.

Last year’s show saw wearables hit mainstream for the first time. The technology felt immature. They were collecting Interesting data, but, the insights and pragmatic use cases felt few and far between. We could all imagine where it would go, but, no one had brought it there.

This year was different. Wearable technology has matured, the data it provides is more accurate and comprehensive and the software built on top of it has been applied to several pragmatic use cases – many of which are being applied to wellness and healthcare. While many are still avoiding direct contact with FDA regulated health care applications, there is definitely a push towards it.

We enter 2015 with many seeing wearables as toys for early adopters and serious athletes. We will leave the year seeing adoption from the early majority.

The Wearables Bandwagon is full, but there aren’t enough customers on it.

If I see one more wrist band that comes in different colors, has a more elegant display or is built purposefully for a specific demographic, I’m going to loose hope in humanities creative ability. Seriously folks, 5,703 companies can’t win the wearables game because they look better.

Everyone seems to be experimenting with how to make wearables more than an industry phenomenon. Mass consumer adoption hasn’t happened and the form factor is the reason why. No doubt – this technology must merge into our existing life habits.

Fashion will be part, but, a commoditized part, of the solution. The winners will have advanced technology or a new application of data that provides true differentiation. The form factor innovation that matters are those that applied wearables to something totally different, not that changed the looks. Textiles, for instance. Connected underwear anyone? Don’t laugh, it may be the answer.

We will solve the mass adoption problem in 2015 and figure out how to embed the technology into every day life. Enough people realize the issue.

Health is not only physical, it now includes mental.

Last year was the year of physiological data. This year, psychological data seemed came to life.

Having trouble with focus? Maybe you’ll be interested in a virtual coach that claims to be able to increase mental focus by walking you through a daily routine and monitoring your brain waves. Do you struggle in your daily meditation? Why not have an EKG machine read your brainwaves and help you reduce brain activity. Why go to the hospital for an EKG when you can do it at home?

All of these gadgets felt like immature products and toys. Much like the more advanced wearables did last year.

In 2015 we’ll figure out whether mental health technology has a future and whether there’s any legitimacy to the data algorithms behind this first generation of experiments.

(Unsolicited prediction: My gut says, yes, but, not as a stand along product. The power will come from some level of brainwave activity data being combined with other data, including physical, and applied to larger use cases than we see now. We need to find relevant applications).

Digital health has become more useful, more applicable, and more holistic. The sector is now focused on adoption, and refinement.

[comment]What about you? Are you ready for it? Does it scare you? What industry do you think will take the biggest step forward in 2015?[/comment]

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