FFCON21 Breaking Barriers May 11-13, 2021

“The task is to think what nobody has yet thought, about which everybody sees”

Scott Galloway | Feb 26, 2021

professor galloway 2 x 2 - “The task is to think what nobody has yet thought, about which everybody sees”

“The task is...not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.” ― Erwin Schrödinger

Just as life is not about what happens to you, but about how you respond to what happens to you, insight is not a function of data, but of how you perceive the data. Plotting data in different ways is illuminating, even fun, and it can lead one to discover stories. And while “stories” often connotes fiction, stories can also be true, and can even create truth.

The best way to predict the future is to make it. And, just as history is the stories we (i.e., the victors) tell ourselves, stories can shape the future by giving people a path, an inspiration, or a goal. One inspiration for those stories is data … and different ways of looking at the data.

Just read the last paragraph and it’s clear I’m insecure re my intellect, or have an edible hangover. The answer is yes.

See:  The Enterprise Automation Imperative—Why Modern Societies Will Need All the Productivity They Can Get

Anyway, I love 2x2 matrices, and how their quadrants inspire stories. Identifying two factors that define four groups can provide insight into industry dynamics and illuminate pressures and opportunities. Often, the points on a matrix are a function of quantitative analysis; however, the real value is in the sorting, not the calibration.

In that spirit, I’ve been thinking a lot about how tech is battling for our attention. Screens have infested our lives and we’ve become re-attached to an Orwellian umbilical cord. From fitness to dating to news to travel to investing to cooking, every slice of our day is a battleground among tech players for our monetize-able attention. Two factors drive strategy in this battle: the value of the attention that firms command, and the means to monetize that attention. Hence, our A2 matrix.

So what are the stories we see when we organize the data along these axes? And can these stories pull the future forward? Let’s start with the upper right “luxury” quadrant.

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