15 years from now (if not sooner) most cars will drive themselves

Home > Archives

Tagged Work



Over a 25 year time span, I have built a remarkably successful career as a speaker, speaking to organizations worldwide about future trends, what comes next, and how best to get there. Take a look at my client list; many of the world’s biggest and most prestigious organizations have had me in for my insight. I must have some views and insight that are worthwhile.

Often, I am booked directly by those who find me online, but I am also regularly booked by some of the largest, most prestigious speakers bureaus in the world. Folks like the Washington Speakers Bureau and Canada’s National Speakers Bureau, among countless others – probably the top 30 agencies in the world actively work with me. I’ve spent a great deal of time over 20 years to build and nurture a relationship with these folks. It’s a pretty exclusive club — I am booked by the same people who book Barak and Michelle Obama, George W. Bush, various astronauts and business executives, sports figures, entertainers and more. It’s not a stretch to say that I operate at the elite level of the global speaking industry, with audiences of several thousand, in locations like Dubai, Oman, Tokyo, London and Washington.

In my spare time, my wife and business partner Christa volunteer our time to a local charity near our ski chalet north of Toronto. To that end, I would like you to watch this video clip about this group, known as Events for Life.

Events for Life provides daytime activities for young disabled adults; we have young people with autism and other disabilities, as well as those with Down Syndrome. Our goal is to give them a pathway and activities that helps them to live an enriching life. We are overjoyed with the results.

Which brings me to my good friend Thomas. He’s in the video above. Thomas has Down syndrome, and is very non-verbal. But Thomas is a remarkable human being, and I am touched and honoured to be a part of his circle of life.

One of my proudest moments this year came when Thomas decided it was OK to ski with me – and spent 2 1/2 hours with me on the slopes. Being non-verbal, Thomas really cannot express his feelings other than through a fist-bump or a smile. And that day, as we went up the lift and then down the hill, he was full of smiles! I was rewarded with a fist bump every time we met again at the chair lift, ready to go up again. His mom was quite thrilled to see him spend so much time with me. I came off the ski hill with a greater feeling of accomplishment than when I walk off stage in Las Vegas, having spoken to an audience of 5,000.

Thomas is 25. Thomas is a human being, and a remarkable one at that. He is a member of the human race, but a truly wonderful one. Despite his disability, he skis in a fascinating manner, with obvious joy and abandon. He has a mean golf swing, and as I understand it, just this year has figured out how to skip a ball across a pond. Thomas has a wicked bowling game. He can express his joy, and as a friend, is deserving of those moments of joy. That is why my wife and I – and so many others — give our time willingly, with our heart and soul, to this important but small charity.

That’s why I was appalled at the appearance of Cory Lewindowski on Fox News the other night, apparently mocking a situation where a child with Down Syndrome was separated from her parents, in this crazy war on immigrants.

“Womp womp,” he said with derision.

I don’t know what cold and callous blood runs through the veins of someone who is heinous as Mr. Lewandowski, who would make fun of a fellow member of a human race in such a way. I do know that we now live in a world in which the President of the US has been known to do the same thing.

That’s why I was thrilled to learn that Mr.  Lewandowski was dropped today by Leading Authorities, a speakers bureau that was representing him. Leading Authorities has booked me many times through the years; they are valuable partner. They are my friends and my compatriots in this fascinating industry.

I take joy in their decision. I applaud them for their action. I take some solace that in this world, in which hate seems to be in the ascendant, they saw fit to say that ‘enough is enough.’

Today, many of these organizations are struggling with the issues that come with representing some of those who have hatred in their soul. Maybe today the industry took an important first step in reconciling itself to a path that it needs to take into the future.

I do know that I’ve had private conversations with many of the agents at various of my speakers bureau partners around the world about the current state of the politics of hate. They have been struggling with the fact that their business model has them representing some of the people who are quickly becoming the most vile individuals on the planet. I know that many of these hard working agents in the industry are in a state of despair, as they find that they are in representation of individuals – politicians, media figures and others – who spew the politics of hate. Who spread a message of fear, ignorance, racial hatred, disdain and more. I know they are struggling with the idea that Sarah Huckabee Sanders will one day leave the White House, and might think that the speaking circuit is a wonderful career path – but that the idea of representing someone who lies and demeans the truth on a daily basis just cannot be.

That is why I take joy in the decision by Leading Authorities to drop Mr. Lewandowski. There is no room for him or his message in this industry. There should be no message for individuals like him on this planet, but that, it would seem, is a bigger and more complex issue. But bravo to Leading Authorities. I am hopeful that this is a step where vile, hateful speech is no longer a part of the industry of which I am part, and an industry which I love.

I will also say this – as a global speaker with a successful business, I’ve been cautioned by some of my friends to take care with my words; to be mindful of of what I say; to hold my outrage back. It might cost me business, I am told. I might lose some gigs.

Each morning, as I read the daily news of hate and derision, I am finding it almost impossible to be silent. But I am realizing more and more that I need not be.

I would rather stick up for my friend Thomas, and all the Thomas’s of the world, instead of seeing this vile politics of hate continue in this industry.

Please share.

 

Last week, in Las Vegas, I was the opening keynote for 3,000 people at the National Fire Protection Association annual conference.

I was asked to limit my remarks to 20 minutes. I don’t do TED talks – it’s difficult to fit in all the trends involving a fast future into a short time span! But I did some work, and cut myself back – and you can see the full (21 minute) talk here….

Our challenge: involvement! In 1964, Kitty Genovese was brutally murdered in New York City as a crowd of bystanders stood by, watching, unwilling to do anything to save her. What does it say for our world when too many people are too unwilling to get involved….”

So began my speech, in Grade 7 or Grade 8, in the Ontario championships for the Optimist Club of Canada. I was all of 11 or 12 years old. I was bothered, I think, by what I was witnessing in the world at the time, and the story of Kitty Genovese, which I saw in a Readers Digest magazine, captured my attention. It became the basis of my speech, which set me on the path for a big competition!

I didn’t win – I was crushed! I was certain I had nailed it! And I couldn’t believe that the kid who beat me had a squeaky little, high-pitched voice, and didn’t seem to deliver with the passion that I did! How did I not take the big prize!

I was given time off during the school day in my elementary school in London, Ontario, Canada, to practice for my provincial public speaking championship . The teachers were probably relieved — I was a bit of a problem student….

Such are the lessons that teach us things later in life…..

So today I’m down in a place called London, Ontario, Canada, south of my home outside of Toronto. It’s where I grew up as a baby, from 1959, until we moved east in 1972. We’re down in the area briefly, and I had a chance to visit some of my old haunts in a rushed visit prior to going to a wedding 45 minutes from here.

Naturally, the visit brought a flood of memories! Such as: for some reason, my parents saw fit to get me involved in a public speaking group – the Junior Optimists – which was part of of Optimist International. They’re still around as a public service club, with the fascinating purpose of “working each day to make the future brighter.

Did you ever wonder where I got my optimism today?

And so back in 1971 and 1972, once a week, for weeks on end, I would go to a church basement or to the local school, and work to structure my presentation, learn to articulate , and study how to shape a story. While other kids were playing hockey and things – I guess I was learning how to enunciate! (I also hung out at the library at the age of 9, reading Time Magazine and other things. I think, in retrospect, that I was kind of odd…. and then, of course, there were the stink bombs. I mastered that skill – a pen, a match, and some stuff, and whoo-boy!)

I had little idea at the time what my course in public speaking might lead to!

326 Reynolds Road! It’s still there!

Later on, early in my working career at the age of 20, a mentor of the time suggested that I should get involved with the Dale Carnegie program to do more of the same. Speechifying and such! So I continued….

And now, 30-40 years later? I’m on stage around the world, have spoken to well over 1 million people with audiences of up to 7,000, and have made a wonderful career out of it.

Maybe all because of my early attempt to go big with my speech, “Our Challenge: Involvement.” I still drive my wife and kids crazy today when I easily rattle off the opening above! And so while I didn’t win in the short term, I think it worked out in the long term…..

Looking back, my advice to any parent today? Take some time to give your child the courage to get in front of a group of people and tell a story. It is said that for some people, making a speech in front of a crowd is one of the most terrifying of all experiences.

Don’t let it be. Your challenge? Involvement!

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I’ve been doing a series of customized event videos which serve as promos for various client events. They’re short, to the point, and effective. 2-4 minutes in length.

Do they work? I’m headed to Houston right now, and the client reported that after they sent oft the video teaser, attendance registrations went up by 75%

Learn more about how I make them in this clip. The magic comes in two forms – I film in my home green screen studio, and then the magic is added by my awesome overseas video producer in Russia! Armine is actually from Armenia, and works in her day job in the TV scene in Moscow. In her spare time, she helps me out! The result is amazing! Literally. Give this a watch now.

Kick your event up a notch with your own customized video. Watch them here – and contact me for more information.

And stay tuned – we will soon be launching an opportunity for a cool video keynote summary! More details to come.

Right after 9/11, everyone predicted that we would see the end of meetings, events and conferences: people would recoil in fear, stop travelling, and cocoon at home.

That was the dumbest thing I ever heard, and I said so in a column I wrote for Successful Meetings, the voice of the global meetings and events industry. Titled “Get Real,” it was bang on with my of my comments and predictions.

Fast forward – technology is changing the hotel, meeting and event industry at a furious pace, and Successful Meetings just ran an article on these trends. It’s a great read. But its kind of fun that they start the article with y comments on the cautious speed fo technology in the sector.

Read the intro below, and read the full article here.


7 Hotel Tech Trends to Watch
Whether it’s chatbot concierges or self-check-in kiosks, hotels are getting smarter
by Ron Donoho | April 02, 2018

Robots. Facial recognition technology. Virtual and augmented reality. There’s a seemingly unending stream of cool tech tools flowing out of research-and-development centers and into all corners of the meeting and hospitality industries. It’s influencing hotel and event check-in processes, adding bells and whistles to guest rooms, and innovating meeting spaces. To borrow from Thomas Dolby, they’re blinding us with science.

Before delving into the latest tech trends, it’s worthwhile to hear the consensus view from meeting planners, hoteliers, and futurists who focus on the hospitality industry: Technology will enhance but never replace the way hotels cater to guests.

Read the original 2002 Successful Meetings article here

As someone who helps people understand and cope with the implications of new technology and ways of working, Jim Carroll often finds himself thinking that many of the predictions made about tech products are way off base.

I shudder every time I hear one of the ‘experts’ suggest we are about to see a lot less human contact in the way we work, and the way we get together, particularly when it comes to meetings and conferences,” says Carroll, a speaker and author who focuses on global trends and innovations.

Carroll made that very same observation in print way back in February 2002. He wrote an essay that appeared in the pages of Successful Meetings, in the wake of America’s 9/11 tragedy. “What I wrote back then, the same thing is true today,” he says.

It bears repeating: Technology will enhance, not replace.

While acknowledging that the rate of new technology is speeding up, Carroll points to a telling correlation on how the public views change. “People tend to overestimate how much change will occur over the next two years, and underestimate change that will actually occur over 10 years,” he says.

Carroll points to the Gartner Hype Cycle, a theory that attempts to differentiate a technology’s bold promises from its commercial viability. That cycle typically includes: an innovation trigger, a peak of inflated expectations, and a trough of disillusionment. That’s sometimes followed by a slope of enlightenment involving the product and, hopefully, a plateau of productivity.

Take, for example, something as basic as Wi-Fi in hotels. Remember when it was a novelty?

 

 

The future happens slowly, and then, all at once!” – Kevin Kelly, Founding Editor at Wired magazine.

That, in a nutshell, was the modern day leadership dilemma that I presented to the CEO and senior team of a major company in the US financial services industry, at their corporate meeting last Monday in Dallas. Before I met with them, I put together my early morning “motivational quote of the day” and came up with this observation.

(Learn more about these daily quotes here – and take part by following me on various social networks!)

I put the quote together that morning based on my slide deck for the day: I was covering the key trends which would impact the world of insurance, banking, wealth management, investment advisory services and more going forward. And here was the big issue I was challenging them with that was the sub context of my talk – when it comes to the future, the big challenge is not necessarily knowing what the trends are — it’s increasingly, ‘when are they going to happen?’

We might have any number of trends which will impact financial services going forward – artificial intelligence, blockchain, disintermediation, robo-advisors, the acceleration of expectations, the emergence of new competitors, social-network driven wealth management and more. Yet, when might any of these trends become real and have a significant, disruptive impact? That can be a bigger issue than the trends themselves!

Consider one of the most overwhelming and challenging trends in the industry — will direct broker relationships survive in a world in which consumers are doing more and more online? It’s a trend known as “disintermediation,” and I’ve been speaking about it on stage for close to 25 years. Read my post from 10 years ago about the potential for change in the wealth management industry, when I did a talk for the National Australia Bank!

Click to continue reading

“Disintermediation” is the potential for individuals to bypass a relationship with a financial professional – such as a wealth management or investment advisor — by doing things on their own utilizing the Internet. It’s the idea that people will buy insurance directly, and thereby bypass any sort of relationship with an insurance broker. or, that they won’t use a wealth management advisor, because they believe they will be able to make better decision on their own – and thereby, cut out a commission-oriented relationship.

We’ve talked about disintermediation in the industry for a long time, and while it has happened to a degree, there are still many large firms that still have in place a business model that involves a broker network. Will it ever change that model? And if so, when? And how do we continue to deal with that potential reality?

That was part of the focus of my talk in Dallas. The trends in the wealth management, insurance and financial services industry are stark. In a nutshell:

  • how people search for financial services is changing
  • loyalty is declining
  • geography is collapsing
  • competition is increasing
  • relationship building is not always done in person
  • attention spans are collapsing, and with that, the foundation of interaction
  • Moore’s law continues to accelerate the structural change within the industry

In my keynote, I covered these and many more future trends, in order to outline the fact that in 10 years time, the very nature of the industry, and the business model in place, might no longer look the same. I ran a few online, interactive text message polls with my audience, as I do in all of my talks, and the senior executives in the room certainly agreed with me. This is what they responded with:

From that point, my talk took at a look at innovation opportunities to ensure that the broker, advisor, and others would play a powerful role into the future despite the potential for business model change. And the fact is, there is a lot of potential here, but it involves keeping up to date with the high-velocity expectations of today’s financial consumer.

They are influenced with wealth management decisions through the social networks in which they participative – Reddit is their Bloomberg!

How so? One of the most powerful methods is to align to the significant behavioural change introduced by the next generation client – today’s 20 to 25 year old financial consumer. They live in a different world – it’s all mobile, instant, interactive, and fast. They expect to able to get approval for a mortgage or car loan online in 45 seconds or less. They want instant, up to date summaries of their financial position through their iPhone. They are influenced with wealth management decisions through the social networks in which they participative – Reddit is their Bloomberg!

But its’ not just innovating with this new client demographic  – it also involves innovating with your own broker channel as well. Those of that age group who work within the financial services industry are fundamentally different too, in that they live in the same instant, short attention span, fast moving world. They expect to be able to do things fast, find clients fast, support those clients fast – and generally, adopt new ideas faster!

I’m getting a lot of hands on experience e with this new generation, in that my 23 year old son now works for a wealth management firm, similar to the one that I did my talk for in Dallas. He is busy building a career in the industry, at the same time that the industry is in the midst of massive potential upheaval. Will he be disintermediated? If the company that he works for does the right things, I don’t think so!

To that end, I spoke to my client last week about the reaction of the individual who hired him. She’s been in the industry for 35+ years, and has built a very successful wealth management firm. I understand that she was at a conference, and was speaking about some of the unique things she was doing to reach out to today’s new type of client.

Her response? “I hired a 23 year old!”

Brilliant! And that’s one of the key innovation success factors going forward – you can innovate in the context of a fast moving industry, by ensuring that you align yourself to todays’ fast moving client and employee. Generational innovation – understand it, and take advantage of it.

That’s one many trends I covered in my talk in Dallas last week. The future can often happen slowly – but can quickly happen all at once, particularly with the next generation!

 

 

It was pretty ironic to be doing a talk a month ago on the future of manufacturing – at the Trump Doral Resort in Miami nonetheless – at the same time that trade barriers were being put in place to try to take an industry back to where it was in the 1950’s.

What I’ve learned from 25 years on the stage is that some people will blame everyone else but themselves for their lack of success. And when failure comes, it is the fault of everyone else! The quote captures the essence of their mindset.

We live in interesting times, where some believe that with a wave of a magic wand, an entire industry can be transformed overnight and returned to its former glory.

It won’t happen like that, folks.

It will happen through constant innovation, big bold moves, skill set reinvention and challenging thinking that will – and already is — providing for significant transformation. The future of manufacturing is all about adapting to collapsing product lifecycle and reinventing products faster The connectivity and intelligence that comes to products through the Internet of things (IoT) connectivity Mass customization. Digitization, robotics and the cloud. Design based on crowd thinking. Rapid prototyping and deployment. Faster time to market. 3D printing or additive manufacturing.

My talk last month might have worked for some folks, and if I saved them from their thinking, I will have succeeded.

But I know that there were likely others in the room who would not have liked my message – they are on the train of thought that by trying to stop the future, you can return to the past.

In other words – they are likely doomed to fail in the future, because they will make little effort to actually get there!

 

Take a look at my client list. I’ve developed a worldwide reputation for keynotes and talks at Fortune 1000 leadership meetings that go beyond customization – they go to the heart of the transformative issues that need to be discussed in the room.

What’s my secret sauce? Read about how I work with you in this little video clip!

Let’s face it – your annual event, conference or leadership meeting is critically important. The last thing you need is a speaker in the opening or closing keynote slot who is going to give you perfunctory attention, deliver a canned talk, take your money, and leave you wondering, ‘what was that all about?’

Not me! I take the approach that I’m going to have to work hard to have the right to take your money!

Consider a recent project I worked on with the Trapeze Group, a software company in the urban transit space. After some back and forth, they decided I was the right guy to open their annual conference in Nashville this June. What helped to convince them was the level of customization I do in terms of the topic — something that has earned me a global reputation with a massive A-list set of clients.

But it wasn’t just that – it was the fact that fact I would go the extra mile for them with ‘event collateral’ – material they could use to drive interest in and attendance at the event. After all, that’s one of the most important up front goals.

We’re not even 2 months away from the event, and here’s what the Trapeze Group has already!

Continue Reading

The National Fire Protection Association has booked me to headline their annual conference in Las Vegas this June.

As with every organization, they know that effective event marketing is a key to their success: and that they need to work harder to build attendance and interest in their events. To that end, I’ve been working relentlessly on some extremely customized, short videos that can be shared in advance of the event. Take a look at some of them here.

For this particular event, I pulled together 3 distinct video clips with my producer. Have a watch – they focus on future fire risk, accelerated infrastructure risk, virtual reality and more.

 
You can also watch the full, long version. We need to change things up a bit – long versions for the Web, shorter versions for social media!

Want to take your event to the next level? Work with a speaker who actually cares about your event and your own message – not theirs!

Send this to a friend