As a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur and digital director I often fall in love with the latest, greatest, geekiest new piece of technology. I’m always eager to get my hands on the latest gadgets and I’m fascinated by the work that goes on behind the scenes that enables our lives to be enriched by technology.
However, it can be easy to get lost in the technology vortex and lose site of the bigger picture. It’s important to pull yourself up by your eyebrows and remember what you’re trying to use technology for and what its purpose and place in our lives truly is.
Perhaps, it is time to stop and consider the far reaching implications of some of the tech companies that are most dominant today.
As a firm believer in the free market and of the importance of invention cycles to nurture a competitive landscape that promotes innovation and growth, I am concerned by the unchecked power and dominance of mega-tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.
These tech behemoths are operating outside of the regulatory framework that is meant to stop a company from reaching monopoly status. These dominant tech platforms impede fair and healthy competition by prioritizing their own services and having the ability to tweak algorithms to stomp out competition whenever they see fit. This goes against the meritocracy system in America where anyone from anywhere can start a company and rise to the top.
From the consumer point of view, it can be concerning how much data and info these tech giants are collecting. 95% of Americans are concerned about businesses collecting and selling their personal information without permission.
Technology should aim to enhance the human experience. This is done by delighting the customer, the employee, creating a cohesive community among your colleagues through work group enablement technology, taking steps and friction out of the customer journey using technology like voice enablement.
It is a fine line that the business owners in each line of business need to be careful not to cross and they must ask themselves, “Are we becoming creepy digital stalkers when we segment too deeply and invade the customer’s privacy in the name of tech enablement?” Board members should challenge management to reflect and evaluate the purpose and positioning of new digital tools to ensure that they are not inadvertently causing brand damage.
Everybody understands it’s important to AB test any new product or service iteration. One of the things that you ought to consider specifically testing for is not just do they like the new offering and is it effective, but to actually try to capture the insight of “are we over the line and are we becoming creepy or are we truly enhancing the customer experience?”
We live in the blended world between electronic bits and atoms and when in doubt over index for the analogue real world human experience over the machine driven.
Be sure to focus first on the human experience and it will yield better long term success.