Phillipe Theriot on LinkedIn asked a very thought provoking question:

How can we do more to encourage Silicon Valley to develop technologies and business approaches better suited to the next 1bn customers coming from the emerging world?

And the best answer was by Tom Petrocelli, he says “Go There

Go there. Silicon Valley has become insular. Many execs and VCs in the San Jose area don’t even have a clue what’s happening in the heartland of America let alone China.

Go there. Eat meals with people who live there. Have tea and talk. Understand what how people buy and what they want.

Go there. Stop thinking of SV as the center of the universe. Learn to enjoy other cultures and appreciate what is wonderful about them. Maybe learn the language.

Go there

This is an area that is very close to me as it is a space that I am engaged in – “Customer-centricity”. One needs to define customers as human beings, not demographic statistics or analytical probabilities / propensities. As Tom says, recognise customers as people – eat with them, talk to them, etc.

Stop using “data” to run complex statistical analytics to calculate propensities. They don’t mean a thing. We humans behave in many different ways.

People have aspirations, we all do. People have ways to think, we all do. The only pattern that can be strung across large communities is the model of living – the ideas, the ideals, the principles, the practices. When designing software for people, it is this that must be incorporated.

What should be modeled is our ways of thinking, not behaviour or actions. If I can figure out how young executives in India and China will think about technology, I can proceed to build a solution model that enables them in their life purpose. Anything that enables people to succeed will always be valuable. Anything that reduces people to statistics and robotic existence will always be rejected.

Silicon Valley needs a new skill – ethnography and enablement modeling


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