10 people who get my attention everyday. Do you know how hard it is to make a list of just 10? There are many who get my attention, but these ten can stop me in my tracks. Now I talk often about attention, it can determine your success in business, who you give your time to. But the deeper question is, why do these individuals or companies get your attention. I find, as I look down my list, it’s because they make me think…not about what they are talking about, but how the topic applies to my business, maybe even my day-to-day life. But mostly, these individuals do a number of things, they affirm me, are extremely interesting, really make me stop and go Hmmmmmm, and the bonus, they seem to be very genuine people. I’ll qualify that with, I have only met 2 from this list face-to-face, my bucket list just got longer : )

These people can disrupt my day very easily, especially when they hail me on Twitter or write a blog post. You may already know these individuals, and maybe you don’t, but I think they are worth your time. These 10 people do have one thing in common, they see the world, and want to make that world a better place, no matter how abstract and disturbing it might be. I learn much from each of them, and I know you will to if you take the time to follow their work. More importantly, they are all much smarter than I, and deserve a tip of the hat for the work they do.

Gerd Leonhard – I tell the story of how I came across Gerd and his work, I thought long and hard, wondering if I was the only one that saw the world of business the way I do, until I found Gerd. He is much smarter than I, much more connected, and he is a machine when it comes to producing content. The thing that gets me, is his desire to share what he believes, he is a like-minded friend I hope to meet one day. – http://mediafuturist.com

Chris Brogan – I have chatted, was on one of his Kitchen Table Talk Online TV Show, promoted some of his posts, and he has done so of mine, but we have never met. I don’t always agree with Chris, but most of the time I do. I’m a fan of his because he is real, he is what he preaches, a human business. – http://chrisbrogan.com

Jim Connolly – This UK marketer is not only a cool character, he is smart. I’ve know Jim for 4 years now, and he gets better each and every blog post, thought provoking, and makes you think about how you are marketing. – http://jimsmarketingblog.com

Rick Rake – Now I’m biased with this person, why? Rick is a huge promoter of my work here where I live, he was the very 1st person to attend my workshops, and he gets it. Rick & his wife Kathleen come from the older generation, but practice a lot of the new ways of doing business online. I have come to love & appreciate both of them, and can’t thank them enough for all that they do for me and the business community we live in. – http://clickmediaworks.typepad.com/click_media_works_blog/

Seth Godin – I have to admit I feel pretty stupid after listening to him, but I’ll get over that : ) Seth keeps things simple in my head, he makes me think about the world as it really is, and he teaches me far more than I can put into action at any given time. I love his keynotes, and can’t get enough of the Linchpin & Poke The Box, because those two books show you how I feel and think, without the smarts. I fly at 50,000 feet most of the time, and then Seth will bring me back down to earth for a street level view. I thank you. – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Brian Solis – He is much like Seth Godin to me, but different. I’m not even sure how to describe him, he just resonates with me from a business perspective. He is intelligent, and one of the best interviews I’ve ever known in this new digital world, asks some the smartest questions, and shares the answer equally as good. – http://www.briansolis.com/

Glen Hiemstra – I had the privilege of meeting Glen last year, he drove up to Vancouver for the World Futurist Society Conference I was speaking at, he attended my session. Probably wishes he could get that 90 minutes back : ) Glen does some very interesting work as a Futurist, I read his work and bookmark it regularly, he probably doesn’t know that, but he does now. Not only is he a smart man, he is so down to earth and a joy be around. I thank you Glen for being so gracious with me, and for taking the time to come my session. – http://www.futurist.com/

Olivier Blanchard – The Brand Builder – We go back a few years, but only online. Olivier has done something that no one else seems to have figured out yet, he knows how to derive an ROI out Social Media (Networks). He has gone so far as to write a book on the topic, to show you how simple and yet how hard it is to stay committed to the endeavour. Plus, he is damn funny! I cherish every opportunity to chat with Olivier, I learn so much, and I constantly challenge him on the value of a follower, a fan, and or a like. – http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/

Ray Kurzweil – Probably the nuttiest person I pay attention to. I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way, or disrespectful way, he is amazing to listen to. He is very star warzy to me, and yet, scares the crap out of me at the same time. He sees technology embedded in humans, which shows him a world run by machines, but mostly to improve our ability, our way of life, and to create a healthy world. – http://www.kurzweilai.net/

Tom Peters – I have followed Tom’s work for many years, he wrote the famous book called, In Search Of Excellence, just in case you don’t know who he is. His work gets me on trouble all the time, because he talks about doing business better, shares stories and examples of businesses actually doing what he talks about. If you haven’t read any of his books, I challenge you to go out right now and do so. – http://www.tompeters.com/

An honourable mention:

John Morgan – He recently released his first book called, Brand Against The Machine, his work helps you look at how and what your up against in the marketing world. Again, keeping things simple, why? Because simple is hard enough. John has a special way of communicating his message, very direct, and very helpful. – http://johnmichaelmorgan.com/

So there’s my list, it was hard to narrow down, there are many more whom deserve to be on this list, but for the purposes of this post, I’m keeping it down to ten. Many of these people have written books, I highly recommend you read them, and better yet, follow their work here online.

I hope these individuals help you in better ways than they help me, I just wanted to share them with you, and give you some insight to who I pay attention to. After all, attention is the currency we are all trying to acquire.

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It is expected that by the year 2015, 50% of the worlds population will be over 50 years of age, the world population will reach almost 8 Billion. These numbers indicat more than population growth, they also reveal a great many challenges. I will be 75 in the year 2025, should I live that long, but most likely I will. In 2050 I will be 100 years old, I will have seen more radical exponential change than my Mother & Father.

The burden put upon those generations that have yet to be born is staggering in terms of what they will have to deal with, the medical system, the expected water shortage, the energy crisis, and so on. Nanotechnology will overcome some of these shortcomings but much of what I share has yet to be figured out. Having said that, I would like you to consider a few things about the increasing population and the burden it puts on we the people of the world.

Would you approve of being injected with Nanobots, these nanobots may cure you of diabetes, maybe certain types of Cancer and various other serious illnesses. The Pros & Con’s we don’t really know yet, but for the sake of this writing let’s say the Pro’s are, you get healed…permanently. Maybe one of the Pros might be that you are now able to be tracked through these blood cell sized nanobots. Or, these Nanobots connect you directly to the Internet, maybe they are the new Blue-Tooth Technology and you can be monitored remotely. We will become wireless devices, Ray Kurzweil believes it, we’ll be able to download our mind file too!

One of the Con’s, you can never hide, will will always be found. You could be turned off and be refused medical care, the ability to travel or for that matter buy groceries. You might not be able to drive, or to be real extreme, walk down the street because you are viewed as untrustworthy or guilty of some misdemeanor. I’m only touching one nerve ending right? Nanotechnology might bring these situations into our day-to-day lives, giving them life so to speak. I’m sure the list on both side’s could be long, and the case for each one be just as strong as the next.

Technology is one of the many problems we face in an area that is growing exponentially. The medical system we have in Canada is also not sustainable, in fact, I’m not convinced there is a medical system in the world as of this writing that is. Much needs to change, but it is and will be very slow, and it is mostly painful because we must address the fact that the world is growing older, and quickly. The workforce around the globe is shrinking, families are smaller, only 1.5 children per household, what used to be 3.4 per household. If 50% of the worlds population is over 30 years of age today, in another 5 years or so, the worlds population will be over 50.

The only way to fill the shortfall in the workforce, is through immigration, or do we try to advance Nanotechnology to the point of growing the perfect specimen called a human (android, no not the phone). Technology has it’s strong points, but I’m not convinced technology is serving as much good as we hope it will, it is not a silver bullet to life in any way shape or form. (weird sentence eh?)

I ask myself alot of questions and then try to find answer, the problem is, much of what I share has yet to be done or figured out. Well actually that’s an untruth, I just don’t have access to the real good data, the information that will let me tell you when and how. Well, that’s enough ranting for now, I’ll try to post something useful you can actually apply in your business next time.

Feel free to tell me I’m full of whatever you think I’m full of, better yet, leave your comments here for me to respond to if you have the guts : )

Until next time.

There is this feeling that nothing is going to change much, that business as we know it is going to carry on, and the online commerce world will just be like someone who sits on the bench. Someone who comes in adds a few extra dollars during the low points in the game of business. The truth is, the opposite is happening, advancements and innovation is growing faster than any one person can keep up with. Online commerce is and has become the de facto standard for generating revenue, the ugly works still needs to be done, but it’s more likely to be automated for the most part.

Business owners are struggling big time with letting the customer have some of the control, letting the customer tell the business owner what they want and they had better deliver. If they don’t deliver, people will look for what they want elsewhere. Gerd Leonhard coined it, “Proudly Found Elsewhere”. The safety net of control is broken, you see it everywhere, but big business is fighting tooth and nail to maintain that control. The future of doing business online is about reducing control, we will have to reduce control to get more share in the marketplace. Those who resist will find themselves wondering what happened and how did they miss it, people will get fired for not seeing the shift.

The music industry is not willing to reduce control, major TV networks don’t want to reduce control, and the Net Neutrality movement is all about controlling what you can do and what you watch. As brilliant as man is, we are very short-sighted when it comes to money and people.

The message of an Open & Free Business Model where I believe everyone wins, needs to be embraced. There is a need for more people like Gerd Leonhard, Glen Hiemstra and the extreme futurists like Ray Kurzweil to help you embrace the future of an ever changing world. To help you see something bigger than yourself, something bigger than your business, it’s happening all around you whether you like it or not. There is a tidal wave of people coming, and most business owners (small to medium sized business mostly) are looking the other way.

The world is more connected than it has ever been before, a connected and networked audience is dramatically different from what you’re used to. You cannot control a connected audience. They re-group on the fly, they will go someplace else if it’s too hard to get what they want from you, they will find it elsewhere. The experience this connected world has with you, determines your worth, you’ll either gain there trust or you won’t, but making things as easy as possible to do business with you will take you a long way to gaining that trust. The world is EPIC, Experiential, Participatory, Image Driven and Connected.

Resist the notion that being in control will make money,embrace a more open & free business model and turn your attraction into transactions. Create new ways of doing business, make the paradigm shift to an open business model and build a new safety net,by trusting your customers. If you don’t accept the new world of business online, you will learn very quickly, that your safety net of control is broken.

I’m thinking out loud today and thought I would share those thoughts with you. It’s been said we know the future, and we know what it looks like, but do we really? Yes we can predict with some accuracy what might happen, we just can’t describe the details, what color and what shape. Most people keep their head to the grind stone, look up once and awhile but for the most part they work till the bell rings. There are a chosen few who can’t stand the grind stone and have their heads in the clouds. I’m one of those characters, I love looking at the future, I love seeing what has yet to come and I love to share what most can’t see. It’s not that visionaries are better or smarter, they just see the world differently.

It’s not too hard to see that technology is getting more and more advanced and much smaller, we all embrace the use of handheld devices. Computers…towers and laptop’s will be a thing of the past in the next 5 years or so. Some of you remember the 1st Cell Phone, it was HUGE, today it’s  almost the size of a credit card. If Ray Kurzweil is correct in his predictions, we will become wireless devices by merging with technology. Imagine that! Soon the Internet will be readily available anywhere in the world, it won’t matter which device you use, you will have access.

Embracing ambiguity is the secret sauce, and I mean embracing ambiguity in most things online, not just technology. Technology is growing exponentially, therefore we can’t really predict it’s advancement with accuracy. We can however see where technology is going, the deliverables are another issue. Like most things in life we can deduce them to an equation but we really can’t tell you in great detail or when it actually delivers. Visionaries can see what’s coming and they work hard to help you understand it, they just aren’t clear on when you can have it.

Creativity is a function of ambiguity really, we start with an idea, a concept and work within that ambiguity until it takes shape. If you invested in that ambiguity, that would suggest you have huge faith that it will come to fruition. Afterall, you wouldn’t risk without some form of faith that thing you are creating will actually deliver. So why is it so hard for most people to function in ambiguity? It’s a thing called security, we want some kind of quarranttee we won’t lose anything, but will gain everything. Technology is one of those rare fields where that’s possible and we are willing to accept almost every technilogical invention we lay our hands on. For some reason, most are comfortable here in the technology sector, even though the risks are the same in any other catagory or profession.

My point, we can’t possibly know the outcome of any one thing. We must dream big, and with that means we will have to risk big and create within the ambiguity until we have a clearer idea of what’s really going on with our creation. If we always played it safe, do you think we would be where we are today? I doubt it.

So, no matter what you do, whatever profession you happen to be in, try to embrace ambiguity and make it your friend. It won’t be easy, if you have ever been poor or had more month than money, you know what it means to not know where or how you were going to make the ends meet. That kind of ambiguity can turn you inside out, if you’re in Ministry or are required to raise funds in order to pay your bills, you know what I’m talking about.

I share alot about the future of technology, and the new open & free business model, and I need smart people to make sure the predicted progress is done right. Not only do I embrace ambiguity, and not everyone can, it is however easier to embrace the ambiguity of technology.

Are you a risk taker, are you comfortable with ambiguity? Is it the mystery that draws you or is it the anticipation of something new and cool to use?


Ray Kurzweil

The man who spurred me to write my eBook called ” The New Technology – The End of Mankind? – The Beginning”. It wasn’t his brilliance that got me, it was how convincing he was on where we are headed and how rapidly technology was advancing. This video clip will give you and snippet of how he sees things progressing.

Ray Kurzweil is an engineer who has radically advanced the fields of speech, text, and audio technology. He’s also one of our finest thinkers, revered for his dizzying — yet convincing — writing on the advance of technology, the limits of biology, and the future of the human species.

Ray Kurzweil’s latest graphs show that technology’s breakneck advances will only accelerate — recession or not. He unveils his new project, Singularity University, to study oncoming tech and guide it to benefit humanity.