Analog to digital conversion

Over the last week I’ve met a bunch of folk from a variety of disciplines and industries – it’s been quite mind expanding. One of the recurring themes / questions has been “how do I transition or re-position my analog business into a digital one”

I just thought I’d share a few observations and thoughts on the subject but with full disclosure that I am not a Harvard MBA, nor do I write self-help books (yet ). I just tell it as I see it.

Fear

Fear  a.k.a ‘blind panic’ triggers the old fight or flight mechanisms. This can lead to change for changes sake which tend to be accompanied by profound errors in judgment. Fear is a great motivator but often its simply the mind killer.

Blind panic

The emphasis is on blind. This can manifest as the inability to see the opportunities staring you in the face or to appreciate the inherent value of the assets surrounding you. Your typical social media strategist will bend your ear on the value of listening and making sense of the noise. This is good advice, however it’s one dimensional, taking this time to look at yourself, your organization, means looking beyond your peers but to those who are achieving success in other spaces, not just the obvious ones. If you just listen you’ll just hear what you want to hear – by looking and understanding you’ll hopefully see the big picture.

Fight

If you are blind it is really kind of difficult to work out who exactly you are supposed to be fighting. Often you simply end up lashing out at whoever is closest unaware of the dude with the sniper rifle a couple of miles away.

A friend of mine once told me to “fight the fights worth fighting for”  – words which have been incredibly useful over the years.  I never knew the origins of the phrase till recently.

“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing – for the sheer fun and joy of it – to go right ahead and fight, knowing you’re going to lose. You mustn’t feel like a martyr. You’ve got to enjoy it.”

I.F. Stone

Sums up the last fifteen years pretty well, certainly in interesting take on “Fail Forward Fast”.

Flight – A surprisingly common story.

We’ve spotted an iceberg! Abandon ship! Man the lifeboats, before the ship can sink.  Run away from everything you have, everything you have built, all that knowledge and expertise is obsolete now. We must turn our back on our history our legacy to be able to move forward! Don’t worry about freezing to death in the water. It’ll be fine.

To mix metaphors even further, tearing down the house before you know what’s going to replace it is generally a bad move.

Change

Change is good, but doesn’t always have to be revolutionary, evolution gave us opposable thumbs and how useful are they when tapping away on your iphone. Change can come in many forms.

Change can be as simple as a change of words. Why use the word ‘digital’ at all? If you remove ‘digital’ from the equation you remove the barriers. In Adland you don’t have an outdoor creative director working with a print ad creative director being managed by the tv creative director.

Face it if you wanted to have a ‘dialogue’ with your customers would you call in the ‘digital dialogue dude’ or someone who was good at having a conversation?

Separate the thought from the channel and your options expand to encompass them all or in other words “free your mind and your assets will follow”

Don’t be afraid to try this at home.

j

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    • Jim
    • February 10th, 2010

    Jon-

    Long time no talk. Shoot me an email and lets catch up. I am excited to hear about your next adventure. You are brilliant and will land a killer gig. No doubt. Lets talk soon.

    Jim Stone (SF Levi’s)

  1. Like I said to you – brilliant, insightful, and much entertaining post. Deserves a broader audience.

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