Stefan Thomas shares his thoughts on the advancement of technology for business
It’s March and Spring has finally arrived. This month we’re catching up with small business owners to see how things are looking for them.
Today we’re talking to Stefan Thomas who is a keynote speaker and author of Business Networking for Dummies. Stefan is sharing his reflections on the advancement of technology.
I believe we are heading towards a generation of entrepreneurs, with opportunities we could never have dreamed of when I was younger, and some challenges too which accompany the opportunities.
When I finished my O levels, in 1986, the options were pretty clear. Some people went onto further education, either sixth form or a local college, some people went into banking, some people went into the construction industry, life was simple.
Today, almost forty years later, the world is much more complicated for young people, with huge opportunities, as well as some upcoming challenges.
The massive acceleration of technology, from the internet in the late 90s, to social media and web 2.0 in the years approaching 2010, to AI and ChatGPT suddenly appearing on the scene in the last few months, shake absolutely everything up. And the world of education hasn't caught up yet.
Education, as far as I can tell, still works on the assumption that life is split into three ages. Your early years and school/university followed by a career which you chose around age 16, followed by a comfortable retirement. Can anyone really relate to that model in 2023?
Portfolio careers are much more likely than they were a couple of generations ago. Social media, technology and the internet has enabled careers we could never have dreamt of when I left school (in 1986 nobody had heard of a podcast. Come to that in 2006 nobody had heard of a podcast either)
Two of my family are already young influencers. One young person is already getting loads of free stuff and collaboration opportunities from their Instagram channel, another is getting free clothes and accessories from their TikTok, Instagram and YouTube presence. These are potential careers or side hustles.
So a challenge is that young people need the skills to understand how to move from it being quite fun to get free stuff, to actually getting paid for this stuff.
Voice control is just in its infancy. We are sort of used to "Alexa" or "Hey Siri' or "Ok Google" depending on your preference, but have you now spotted that Sky TV is listening to you as well? This will being huge opportunities for those who choose to understand and roll with the technology. We are a very short way away from being able to order things with our voice and somebody somewhere is planning for how that affects the way they advertise to us.
AI and the likes of ChatGPT and whatever comes next will change the world in ways we have yet to realise. So many things which we believe need a human won't need a human. Plenty of people will fight against that, some will look at what opportunities it affords them, and then take advantage of them.
What all of this means is that young people will need to learn the 'soft' skills which enable them to sell, to communicate, to build rapport, to do business. Those skills will be as necessary going forward, as they were in 1986. The ability to successfully present yourself in a job interview will still be important, and the ability to know how to ask for sponsorship for your podcast / YouTube / Instagram will be equally as important for a lot of young people (and come to that, a lot of people my age still need to learn those skills.).
Old folk like me might not have grown up with the new world, but that won't stop it happening. We have the opportunity to use our experiences in the old world, to teach the folk in the new world the skills they need, as well as their native social media talent.
Find out more information at stefanthomas.biz