Juxtapositions.

The Future Does Not Fit in the Containers of the Past. Edition 34.

(Artist: Kelly Reemsten)

1. Digital silicon-based data driven solutions. Analog carbon-based emotional challenges

A machine computes. A human dreams.

The elegance of code is often thwarted by the messiness of people.

Algorithms find co-relations between present and historical data sets. Adventuresome people leave the beaten path and innovate by forging new connections between things that were unconnected before.

Software is written but T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) emphasized “nothing is written” in human progress.

It is imagined.

Silicon Valley believed AI could monitor and clean up the weaponized mess of social media. Lots of computing power and tens of thousands of people later the situation continues to sizzle.

People surprise and are illogical.

Machines are not yet mad.

Math has no meaning.

Meaning often has no math.

(Artist: Giorgio de Chirico)

2. Diversity of people. The diversity of voices.

Diversity is critical.

Diversity ensures innovation as differences of perspectives, voices, and expertise find ways to connect, intersect, compete and intertwine.

The drive to diversity whether it be gender, ethnicity, sexual preference or background is important because it is fair, just and supports ideas, value, freedom and career growth.

Even more critical is that the diverse voices are heard, and diversity is not just diversity of faces or quotas to meet benchmarks.

(Artist: Vladimir Kush)

3. Why we join. Why we stay.

We seek jobs and careers that will afford us money, power and fame.

And we measure our wealth, our span of control and our influence.

But we stay for connections, purpose and personal growth.

Do we feel connected to the people we work with, the purpose and values of the place we spend our lives, and do we feel we are growing as people with our skill and expertise?

We came for the numbers that we could measure on a spreadsheet.

We stayed for the stories that strengthened our heartbeat.

4. The potential of the old. The fixation on the young.

Over the past twenty years the 52-to-70-year age cohort has doubled its wealth to 1.2 million dollars a household while the 20 to 35 has declined by 10 percent to just over 100,000 a household.

Modern health care indicates that a healthy 52 will not only have money but over 30 years of a physically healthy life. Today the growth market for most businesses in the US and in most developed markets from Europe to Japan are 50+. They do not see themselves as seniors and Covid-19 has underlined that they are open to new behaviors and brands.

But look around at the marketing in most countries which aims decades below where the money is not only in depiction but also tone of voice. Survey the ages of folks in marketing departments and agencies. Millennial fixation did not help Buzzfeed, Vice or Group Nine.

Money and not “viral likes” makes the world go around.

(Artist: Pablo Picasso)

5. You. The other you.

A person in two moods can be more different than any two people.

You are both what you were and what you are as what you will become.

Some things change and some things stay the same.

It is hard enough to understand yourself and really difficult to understand other people.

Thus, let us be careful in both life and in business to believe we have anybody pegged.

When you have someone segmented and boxed and x-rayed. You have measured their ROI and Lifetime value. When you have them tiered and graded and valued remind yourself that someone is doing the same thing to you.

How does it feel?

And don’t you sometimes just do strange things to make their calculations crackle and burn and go all wrong?

You are the marketer and the one marketed to be.

You are the archer, and you are the target.

(Artist: John Nieto)

6. Balance. Unite. Integrate.

In the digital world there are zeros and ones

In the real world there is a spectrum between zero and 1 including zero and ones.

In the fantasy world there is a yes and no for every answer.

In the real world there are yes, no, maybe, depends, later, avoidance of providing an answer.

The wise understand that one has to continuously manage a spectrum.

A spectrum of people, voices, opportunities, options and decisions.

The challenge is how to balance between the outcomes, unite what can be united and integrate the options.

And to remember humans are incomplete, imperfect and impermanent.

As are all the decisions we make and the positions we take.

And in the juxtapositions is where the meaning of life lies.

If you came across this post via social media or a forwarded email you may want to sign up to receive writing like this every Sunday for no cost (except the five minutes, it will take to read) at https://rishad.substack.com/

Rishad Tobaccowala (@rishad) is the author of the bestselling “Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data” published by HarperCollins globally in January 2020. It has been described as an “operating manual” for managing people, teams and careers in the age we live in and The Economist Magazine called it perhaps the best recent book on Stakeholder Capitalism. Business and Strategy named it among the best business books of the year and the best book on Marketing in 2020. Rishad is also a speaker, teacher and advisor who helps people think, feel and see differently about how to grow their companies, their teams and themselves. More at https://rishadtobaccowala.com/