The Volcano Summit Experience

It was a fantastic experience for Escalate Group to have participated as guest speakers in the online Volcano Summit this past June 13th.

The promise of the event was highly enticing when we heard this experience was going to be an online oasis to explore the future of innovation in our ever-changing world. And the outcome honored it.

Amid a pandemic lockdown and walking around this online encounter, we were able to learn from videos of previous editions of this yearly Guatemala-held event. We were astonished by the beauty of the setting and the energy imprinted by its leaders advocating innovation and educating a community thirsting for the latest trends in technology.

This year they could not fall short with the expectations of its audience. With limited time, they created a curated line up of activities to keep its community engaged with their promise.

The event included speakers, networking, meetups, workshops, expo booths, and breakout discussions. Those interested in a more personalized experience, engaged using a headset in an immersive VR encounter.

In our speeches, Escalate Group shared our customer-focused approach to innovation view and touched upon the topic of the opportunities that blockchain technology brings to the entrepreneurial world.

We are humbled and honored to have contributed to the success of this event, which attracted more than 1,500 participants from 30 countries on that Saturday morning.

Kudos to Emilio Eva, Director of Volcano Summit, and his team. They were able to make the Volcano Summit alive again this year, keeping faithful to its game-changer community and demonstrating that space and time are of no importance when bringing together investors, sponsors, businesses, and entrepreneurs!

My experience at the EXO World Digital Summit

What a wonderful three days at the EXO World Digital Summit with around 1500 or more global participants! Greater than a Digital Summit, it was a Digital Festival. Perhaps a novel way of Summit that will lead us to a newborn category of omnichannel events.  

 I have had the privilege of listening to many speakers during the past years, first at the Singularity University Executive Program at Moffett Field. Later at several SU Global Summits in downtown San Francisco. Moreover, at many podcasts, when working out in my smart bike training at home. This week the new digital experience created by the organizer of the EXO World made it different and better.   

I noticed I was more engaged with participating from home and sharing the experience with my family. Actively commenting within my several WhatsApp and Discord groups, broadcasting to my Twitter and LinkedIn communities, and crowdsourcing the notes of the Summit.  

Ironically in the middle of the quarantine, the whole adventure felt like an enhanced “business” week. Perhaps this better experience to learning and networking is partially explained by the “metacognition” concept presented by @NicoleDreiske on day one.  

The Summit brought to me many take-aways, and it was not easy to select my top “take-home-value.” Disclaimer: it was physically impossible to hear from all the presenters as multiple sessions were happening at the same time. I will binge myself into the recordings to complete the presentations and to listen again to the segments I liked the most. Meanwhile, here my list created right after the experience ended.  

Scarcity = Abundance – TRUST  

I have been wired, for more than five years, to the concept that exponential technologies are enabling us to make more significant gains and solve our big problems in the next two decades. I understand trust as a critical enabler for web 3.0 (the value internet). I evangelize how business models of the past century are based on scarcity, while the business models of this century are based on Abundance.  

However, early on, I felt very connected when @SalimIsmail presented Abundance in terms of Trust while inviting us to move from the male (patriarchy, information wall-guarded, oil-based-world) to the female (distributive and abundant world, collaboration, nurturing, positive reimagining better world) archetypes. Combine with, Peter Diamandis’s remarkable commentary about the inequalities, and his quote, “I’m not worried about artificial intelligence, I’m worried about human stupidity.” It completed my first take-home value.   

An Aha moment – “And COVID just accelerated it”  

@JeffBooth explained at his session that we’ve printed $186 trillion worth of money over the past 20 years, to generate $46 trillion of GDP growth. Then, he illustrated how we are living a deflationary abundance from technological development, e.g., cell phones, are staggering. So, given this increasing deflation, governments are creating a structural problem printing more money as they are destroying the value of cash. All this was pre-Coronavirus.  

He cited how Zoom went from 10M to 200M users in a month to explained that COVID just accelerate it. They are not going to go back to 10 million after the Coronavirus, he added. “This delta and more people working from home are going to put a downward price on commercial real estate prices, which will lead to a subprime crisis.”  

Jeff added, such a crisis and the debt will lead to more dislocation and inequality in society, which will eventually lead to uprisings, wars, and the rise of dictators—causing a system reset.  

Another path is to “let it fail,” Booth commented, but that will cause a global depression like the one from the 1930s, and it can cause the banking system to collapse. Can policymakers stomach this?   

Furthermore, he commented that the loss of trust in one’s currency might lead to the possible pegging of some currencies to bitcoin or other similar cryptocurrencies. Some tech (e.g., crypto-currency) will disrupt this and ultimately lead to an economic explosion. And COVID just accelerated it.  

We have to open the space for the new generation.  

The youth is the future of the world, the future of our countries and our cities. They are the next generation, the entrepreneurs of the Singularity age. We should enable future generations to take the lead.  

The dreamers touched my daughters and me. Dream Tank is an organization on a mission to ignite kids around the world through entrepreneurship to make their biggest dreams become a reality. They are here to activate 1 billion young people worldwide to build solutions to our global crisis and our future. Xprize, Openexo, and many other partners genuinely believe in unleashing the creative ideas of young people to design the future and are standing with them. How are we going to contribute? 

 Here another seven moments from the Digital Summit, worthy of comment. 

@PaulSaffo was explaining how the City-State concept, born out of the Information revolution, is a new challenger in the 21st century. It is as a dominant force versus the Nation-State model from the 19th century.  

@AnneConnely was citing Vitalik Buterin to explain how blockchain removes intermediaries. “Instead of putting the taxi drivers out of work, blockchain puts Uber out of work and lets the drivers work with the customer directly.” She added, much of today was designed around centralized trust models – the future is decentralized. It will be done from the bottom up.  

@VishenLakhiani was ending to-do-lists, phone-calls, emails, regular meetings, and presentations. Cultivating flow, and embracing collaboration and reflection through social tools. Recommending to use the OODA Loop for decision making: Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.  

@DavidRoberts remarks about how CEO training is different to SEAL and CIA agents training and how the second ones are prepared to operate within a continuously changing and highly uncertain environments. Should CEO training improve?  

@PaulPagnato inviting companies to have Privacy and Transparency Standards, while explaining his 6Ts model: Transparency, Terms, Total Accountability, Total Cost, Truth, and TRUST.   

@AndrewHessel’s closing remarks: “the future of life is that we’re going to design and build more and more of it.” We have to navigate the limitations, opportunities, and ethics and “we have to move beyond the fear of the virus.”   

@RaymondMcCauley’s interactive and creative presentation illustrated how biotech will move from current applications in pharmacogenetics, disease identification, consumer genetics, precision agriculture, industrial-biology, etc., into CRISPR to create vaccines! Antibiotic, antiviral – Are we going to see the end of infectious disease?  

Thank you to all thought-leaders that took part in the EXO World Summit.  

To end this post, I would like to share a selection of my favorite quotes from my EXO Ambassadors colleagues when reflecting on the EXO World Digital Summit. 

“It is super inspiring, not only the content and the interactions but also for developing new formats for building community and making movements happen at a large scale. Next stop abundance, cheers,” – Lars Lin Villebaek

“What a fabulous chance for exponential thinkers to ideate the best possible future together. Congratulations to all involved!!! Look what can be achieved in one month, navigating huge complexity.” – Emilie Sydney-Smith

“In addition to amazing content and people, it has been a breakthrough experience in terms of emotional engagement. Last night I felt deeply sorry it was over. This feeling so deep never really occurred to me in traditional events. My Singularity attendance 8 years ago was an intellectual breakthrough but certainly not so emotional.” Augusto Fazioli 

“ExO World was awesome! It was as (or even more) inspiring and intensive as SU but accessible to everyone, which is the way to go (democratizing inspiration!). Kudos to all the team who made it possible. I think this event will be the first of his kind, looking forward for more to come 🚀” – Francisco Palao 

“ExOWorld! What-a-festival amidst gloomy times! A zero-carbon conference, attended by over 1500 purpose-driven individuals and knowledge seekers, from 50+ countries. None traveled. Everyone stayed at home with family, ate home-cooked food, logged-in at all odd hours from the comfort of their living room or bed, in their pajamas. All for a single cause: transform the world for a better future!” – Suman Sasmal

Unlocking Business Potential in the Digital Era

Similarly, the most significant problems of our time are global and require globally coordinated solutions. All these partnerships need more trust and transparency to succeed.

Businesses have always changed with the times, but the confluence of technological innovations such as mobile, cloud, social, and Big Data analytics are accelerating the pace and generating new business models, allowing disrupters better serve their customer and drive growth.

Cloud computing and data technology significantly reduce CapEx as well as operating and maintenance costs while allowing access to computing power to process an ever-increasing volume of data. For example, car-sharing services enable private cars to temporarily become taxis, monitoring drivers and riders, adjusting prices and routes throughout the day.

Distributed systems enable redundant and resilient networks that protect the integrity of the systems. If data is distributed between multiple servers, there may not be any data loss even if a storage device ceases to work.

Data security is of particular importance in distributed systems, and advanced cryptography secures both network and transactions to their integrity.

Together, these technologies enable the potential for blockchain to allow for new collaborative and trusted behaviors that are unlocking new business models.

Fluid Chains’ process leverages the concepts of Exponential Organizations by @salimismail, and it has helped us to simplify the complexity of new interconnected prosperous opportunities. The Exponential Attributes had facilitated to our customer the development of accelerated global coordinated solutions. The application of attributes varies by project and by industry, below a short explanation on how the attributes have been helping our Distributed Ledger projects.

Leveraging External Communities via project incentives is vital to creating value for any blockchain project, it allows to turn community members into engaged advocates participating of securing the network and making the difference between success and failure for the new distributed organizations created around these decentralized projects. Cryptographic Algorithms and hashing, a cryptographic method of converting any data into a string of characters, keep the blockchain secure.

APIs had allowed developers to leverage open source software and build marketplaces with next-generation applications and projects; Interfaces are key in blockchain projects to enable the community to connect with systems. Blockchain technology is in an early stage, the best time to find the right use case for your business problem across your industry, get into space, set a small group in a design thinking process, experiment, learn, measure and pivot.

Autonomy of contributors and stakeholders is a crucial concept for how people related and interact with blockchain projects and each other. It creates efficiencies within individual actors direct their efforts, circumventing inefficiencies of top-down control

At Fluid Chains we integrate the transformational power of blockchain into your organization to create ventures with exponential scaling potential and sustainable business models.

The Opportunity gap of the Digital Transformation

By Cesar Castro, Managing Partner at Escalate Group

Remember Compaq? MCI Worldcom? TWA? They were once household names, but not anymore. In the mobile industry, I closely experienced the rise and the fall of mobile pioneers and giants such as Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson and Blackberry.

We have all heard that businesses are more volatile and uncertain today and the truth is that the current speed of transformation requires agility on how we manage our business and ourselves. Big changes across industries are driven by external factors such as cheaper computing power, the emergence of platforms, the rise of mobility and the cloud, the social business and the explosion of big data and advance analytics.

Digital business transformation is one of the hot topics today, complete industries such as music and newspapers have been disrupted and more recently successful “Unicorns” such as Quirky (Make Invention accessible), GitHub (Social Coding), AirBnB (Belong Anywhere) and Uber (Everyone’s Private Driver) are disrupting with new platforms while creating new business models using the sharing economy to drop the cost of demand and the cost of supply while bringing revolutionary innovation to our lives. We are surrounded by people and companies developing new products and apps that improve our daily lives with evolutionary innovation models. Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix are good examples of companies that innovate outside-in making bold choices. It is very exciting living in these times. Peter Diamandis[1] is totally right when he affirms that we are living in a novel era of extraordinary abundance. We are in the golden age of Information Technology.

Innovation will only accelerate the creation of opportunities for everyone. Internet has democratized the information and the breakthroughs will happen around the world both in developed countries and particularly in emerging markets where the opportunity gap of the Digital Transformation is even bigger. We are moving from physical products to digital products, from physical distribution to distribution over Internet. In the future you are a digital business or a dead business, or in Andreessen’s[2] words “Software will eat the world, in all sectors. Companies need to adapt or they will become extinct. In the future every company will become a software company.”

The digital transformation journey starts when we engage with the digital consumer and create value in the networked world. In Saffo’s[3] terms, it is “the transition from the producer economy to a creator economy”. Many companies are already well advanced engaging with their digital consumers and some are even one step ahead digitalizing their business and operating processes while integrating technologies to transform themselves. Gartner[4] sees a world moving toward business models based on services and impact, where the cloud is the key for business to gain scalability and competitiveness. I am seeing a huge momentum in Enterprise platforms across different industries in Latin America, choosing your cloud partner is as critical as choosing your new default platform so please don’t make these decisions lightly.

Internet is evolving into a new 3rd phase that is divided in three stages: 1.The Internet of money driven by technologies such as bitcoin/blockchain that are already disrupting the banking industry; 2.The energy Internet where solar technology and Sensors/ IoT (Internet of Things) will play a very significant role; and 3. The logistics Internet driven by platforms, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and technologies such as 3D printing. A totally new phase of Digital transformation is in front of us, some denote it as the industrial Internet, and Rifkin[5] refers to it as a new economy paradigm in his book “The Third Industrial Revolution”. Soon, much faster than the rapid adoption of smartphones, we will have billions/trillions of sensors connected to the Internet that will, in many cases, communicate among them without human interaction.

The first step of any successful transformation is self-awareness, so it is important to ask ourselves where we are standing on our Digital transformation journey. Here are a few relevant questions for reflection:

  • Am I using engaging marketing to maximize the interactions with my consumers while reducing their friction with my products/services?
  • How advanced am I in the process of digitalizing my operating and business processes?
  • What percentage of my revenues are under threat from digital disruption?
  • As a business leader, am I willing to co-drive the digital transformation?
  • How am I preparing for the industrial Internet?

According to IDC[6] predictions, by the end of 2017, one in three CEOs of the Top 3,000 Companies in Latin America will have Digital Transformation at the center of their corporate strategy. Leadership plays an important role in the highly volatile and uncertain world we all have to operate, a world that requires deep business transformations while we keep driving the execution and performance of our short-term goals. Leaders that become the catalytic agent of change at their businesses cultivating the right environment, driving the culture and way of working for change to happen will lead their companies to emerge as the winners of the 3.0 Internet era.

There are many frameworks available in order to facilitate the creation of new business models where digital meets physical and to help companies become digital, consulting firms and IT providers can help you as well. For example the ExO (Exponential Organizations) Community, founded by Salim Ismail[7], recommend and help businesses to focus on creating Massive Transformation Purposes (MTP), examine ExOs in your industry (and adjacencies), learn through experiments and implement innovation and creativity into the traditional organizational structure.

Perhaps you have heard the stat that 40 percent of today’s Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist in 10 years. So the key question is: Are you taking the right steps to tackle the opportunity gap of your Digital Transformation journey?

I hope these lines motivate you to post your comments below, so we can all learn from each other experiences!

[1]Peter Diamandis, International pioneer in the fields of innovation, incentive competitions and commercial space

[2] Mark Andreessen, Founder of Netscape, renowned Venture Capitalist

[3] Paul Saffo, Consulting Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University

[4]Gartner, Inc. is a research and advisory firm providing information technology related insight

[5]Jeremy Rifkin is an American economic and social theorist, writer, public speaker, political advisor, and activist

[6] IDC, American market research, analysis and advisory firm, specializes in information technology.

[7] Salim Ismail is a Canadian angel investor, speaker, advisor, entrepreneur and strategist. He is author of the Amazon bestseller Exponential Organizations