Monthly Archives: November 2012

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On November 1st, 2012, Bloomberg kindly hosted the Women Media Networks Media Disruptors lunch event, Changing the Rules of the Game.

With Moderator Mia Saini, News Presenter for Bloombergand panelists Emma Reynolds (Co-founder & CEO of e3-Reloaded), Joanne Ooi (Plukka.com) and Mariko Sanchanta (news presenter, Wall St Journal (WSJ)), we were set for an exciting discussion.

From the start, Saini disrupted the audience by taking a question and answer approach, creating audience interaction throughout. Saini’s wit and humour kept the conversation focused, fast-moving and entertaining.

 

 


 

“To engineer a disruption, the consumers will take time to catch up – be dynamic enough to roll with it, have back-up plans, re-iterate with your consumer,” advises Ooi near the beginning of the discussion.

 

 

“To keep innovating is to go back to the core of the disruptive mindset. Look at all areas, sales, engineering, consumer needs, etc. It’s an art, you cultivate it on a daily basis,” adds Reynolds.

 

 

“Yes, you have to throw your ego out of the window - you might have to throw great ideas away in being realistic, to keep a healthy directions,” adds Oi.

 

 

Coming from WSJ, Sanchanta has other comments. “Now we understand what our readers look at on our site, we’ve added a tool on the page to show how many people are reading which pieces. It’s push and pull, on whether it’s a core story that we’re promoting there or whether we want to up our reader numbers. The WSJ Asia team is quite autonomous, so we do try things out and when they don’t work out, we move on.” She describes an ego and agenda-free scenario.

 

 

We all know that in large companies, it takes a long time for new ideas to get to the top management - and by then, the world moves on. So what do you do? “You have to think like a small company,” says Reynolds.

 

 

Highlighting that is the fact that some of the best online or mobile payment companies are not headed by the main credit card companies, as you’d expect. Moreover, those payment companies cut out the middleman and have great interfaces, Reynolds observes. Her favourite example is https://squareup.com/, which allows mobile phones to take credit card payment.

 

 

As an executive, or someone less up-to-date with modern advances, what do you do when you’re left behind? Consultant Reynolds finds that sometimes her clients are those executives that have been left behind by disruption. “We can’t afford to wait around so we work out which companies we deal with well.”

 

 

Ooi reminds us of the danger of egos, getting in the way. “We have to be strong enough to walk away and move on. I don’t mean that some clients understand disruption immediately, but we can see if they’re open to it. Then we move forward and identify the problems. That helps the clients to open up and want to change. We focus on problems first not solutions, that keeps their interest. Things are different now, the power is with the masses, not the few at the top,” she observes.

 

 

Quantifiable statistics, defining working culture, looking at more realistic and regular performance reviews and crowd-sourcing ideas within the workplace are the kinds of activities that Reynolds works around.

 

“At WSJ, we’re always teaching our readers how to do things – many don’t know how to Tweet and so on,” explains Sanchanta. In Reynolds’ experience, men in their fifties are often strong ambassadors of learning new techniques and embracing modern technology and social media.

 

 

Disruption doesn’t come from the bottom, says Ooi. It comes from strong individuals – the power of the individual is vital. “If you can’t get that in your organisation, you hire people like Emma!” she quips.

 

 

Sanchanta says that as a woman in a male dominated industry, she is more of a disruptor, because she stands out at the meeting table.

 

 

Let’s look more closely at media. “As a traditional print media, we don’t easily embrace new technologies and people are sceptical. But we decided to do online videos, because it was something different,” says Sanchanta. “At first, it was awful but we got better and it works because most people are willing to go on camera.” Meanwhile, companies like Goldman Sachs have embraced Twitter, something that surprises former employee, Saini.

 

 

China has its own disruptive mindset. Saini’s husband travels to China for work regularly, and often, finds that her feeds are cut – the screen goes black a millisecond after she appears. But WSJ is one publication that has managed to remain online in China. “We don’t let it affect our content but if we’re reporting on a government we always make contact and ask direct questions,” says Sanchanta.

 

 

Being an entrepreneur in the disruption world doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be rich. Perhaps embracing the failures is part of the process? Reynolds’ first company, in the UK, went bankrupt during the financial crisis. “I lost everything,” she says, without regret.

 

 

Industries that might not have yet been disrupted yet,include financial advice services. One audience member thinks this will change in the next 5-10 years, but other changes have to happen behind that. Australia has already moved toward full disclosure; the UK has also made some changes.

 

 

Another main industry that needs change and disruption is education. Adult learning and life-long learning are key words here. Freer, low-cost education that’s internationally available seems like a dream. But education is getting more expensive year-on-year and good teachers and professors are still vital and need paying well. One audience member suggests that you can disrupt the system and still pay well.

 

 

Final words of advise
“I never thought ten years ago I’d do online video and Tweet. Just keep adapting, leaning and stay on top of the trends. We’re all so busy but I always try to read, learn and talk to people.” – Sanchanta

 

“Use the 4C DNA: Collaboration, co-creation, controlling, connecting. If you don’t see those four things, it needs disrupting.” – Reynolds

 

“Our inputs are very Googlised – we need to supplement that. Sip from the fire hydrant every day – eventually you’ll have a disruptive thought.” – Ooi

 

 

 

 

 

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