::: nBlog :::

During the last century, most businesses were following the guidance of Adam Smith (and to lesser extend Karl Marx’s) – it was all about capital, means of production (factories), efficient replication and supply chains. This one-way business was so successful that many executives, and even some economics professors, could not imagine anything else.

Then the Internet brought us the cheap bidirectional means of communication, already in the 1990s. This was first utilized by geeks and then then social media emerged. For the latter, there was not even a product; it is all about knowing everything about a user, and selling the data to the highest bidder. Or to the security apparatus.

I’d say that most traditional industries are just in the beginning of understanding the post-Smith era, where the customer is as important as the product. And I don’t mean CRM and marketing automation systems – the inherent customer connection has to be built into every single product and service. After 120 years of splendid disconnection, this is a truly formidable task.

The customer is today not only king, but also kin – your success depends on how well you can serve to enhance the customer’s core business, and many times expand it, too. This requires deep knowledge on how your product or service performs at the customer – sometimes every second. Forget about questionnaires or warranty forms, with today’s connectivity options you won’t find an excuse for not knowing.

In the era of spimes and the Internet of Things, technology problems are secondary to those of legacy common practices and experience. The only way forward is to de-learn about 100 years and think how your every product is a service, with a carefully managed lifecycle. Built in. Regardless of you producing roof tiles or blast furnaces.


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