When we experience dramatic, revolutionary new technology we often don't know what to do with it. We don't understand what they will do for us, and we have no clear idea about how it will change our lives.
Interestingly, we don't even know how to describe the new technology. My friend Dean Jackson of “I Love Marketing” and “The 90 Minute Book Company” makes the point that when new technology arrives, we try to describe it using words in our current vocabulary. And we don't really understand what it is. Dean gives the example of movies which were originally referred to as “moving pictures” in the early 20th century and “horseless carriages” which is what people called automobiles initially. I would add to Dean's list using the term “cell phone” to describe the iPhone when it is, in fact, a supercomputer we carry in our pockets.
These inadequate descriptions of what were without question revolutionary technologies makes it clear that we not only do not know how to describe the new invention, we don't really even know how to think about it. For example, in the horseless carriage days, did anyone have any idea how the automobile would fundamentally change the way we live and work in the 21st century? Of course not. At the midpoint of 2020 we are in exactly this same situation again. The world is rapidly adopting Zoom and similar technologies to conduct meetings face to face.
Technology Makes Communication Better
As people attempt to grapple with the impacts of Coronavirus, they are referring to these new technologies as teleconferencing or even video chats. But Zoom is not like a phone call at all. It's certainly not like chatting. That is done using texting devices. But just like in the horseless carriage days, we're using our current vocabulary, mindset and understanding to try to describe this new and revolutionary technology.
As an automobile can do so much more than was envisioned in the early days after its invention, these new so-called communications tools are and will be much more capable than we now understand. Just as moving pictures, horseless carriages, and iPhones changed fundamentally and forever transportation, entertainment, and in the case of the iPhone almost everything else about how we live, Zoom (and the much better follow on technologies that will copy and improve upon it) will too. In fact, while most people think of Zoom as a communications technology, Dan Sullivan founder of the Strategic Coach Program says Zoom isn't a communications technology at all. He says it's a transportation technology. Dan believes that because we can transport ourselves anywhere in the world at any moment in time, not physically, but in most other ways that matter. So, just as flying machines, now known as airliners, and horseless carriages, now known as automobiles shrank the world, Zoom will as well.
In a similar way as the telephone (followed by faxing, email, and then texting) sped up communications, Zoom and similar technologies will revolutionize how we work as well as how and where we live. I cannot overstate this. As Dean Jackson points out, we are in the early days of this new technology and it will develop much further than what we currently see. Even though it is very early, the impact of this new technology is dramatic.
Save Time and Money by Teleconferencing
All of us have less time available than just a few years ago. There are not only more tasks to do, but more choices to make. Available time continues to be compressed. One of the immediate benefits of this new technology is that it is going to give us a lot of time back. In my own experience, I have saved many weeks this year in travel alone. I have been able to replace airlines, rental cars, hotels, and time away from my family just to attend meetings with a few hours on Zoom. I have discovered that most meetings on Zoom are just as good, and in some cases better, than in-person meetings, especially without all those days and nights of travel.
Zoom and its competitors make almost all communication better. For example, I think that all of us could agree that texting and email leave a lot to be desired as communications mediums. The telephone at least gives us back some ability to use voice inflection to indicate intensity, humor, anger, and other emotions that the people we are trying to communicate with need to understand to fully comprehend us. Of course, the reverse is true, because we need those cues to fully understand them. Even though the telephone is better than email, experts make it clear that the nonverbal portion of communication ranges from 55% to 90%. Seeing a face with a voice increases understanding, which in skilled hands results in improved teamwork, customer relationships, and increased sales.
Get Creative with Zoom's Capabilities
While cars and airplanes have shrunk the world, allowing savvy business people to expand their geographical footprints, this is nothing compared to what Zoom will make possible. Zoom essentially makes geography meaningless. Savvy entrepreneurs can now do business anywhere in the world regardless of where they or their employees reside.
Video is continuing to explode as an advertising medium. Video puts “content” marketing on steroids via the internet. Zoom adds an afterburner to all of this because it allows video content to be created on the fly, stored forever, repackaged endlessly, and used over and over again.
These are just early and obvious examples of how Zoom is and will change the way we live and do business. Clever and creative people will bring more ideas about how to use these kinds of new technology in the coming months and years. Just as movies and automobiles are almost unrecognizable today compared to their ancestors, this new technology will rapidly transform, evolve, and create opportunities. Having studied virtual and augmented reality extensively, I believe that within three to five years we will be combining these technologies into something that is essentially unrecognizable to us today. In other words, Zoom, as cool as it is, will be as relevant to us in a few years as Netscape is to the internet today.
The key point here for all entrepreneurs is that right now is the time for you to get up to speed on this new technology. You need to develop state-of-the-art capability with Zoom right now, so you'll be able to adapt as it evolves over the coming months. This is going to move very rapidly both in capability and in how it can be put to work. To not get up to speed immediately is just like trying to stay in a horse and buggy in the interstate age. That's crazy.
Grow Your Business Operations with Zoom
The next step is to begin to think about all the ways you can put this new technology to work in your business in customer service, marketing, sales, and travel replacement.
At OAA, we will be using this new technology this fall to create a completely new and different experience for our annual member’s meeting. We aren't just replacing what we've done in the past with physical meetings with a virtual copy. We're reimagining the meeting itself based on this new technology. We're also repurposing dollars formerly spent on hotels, meals, and travel, investing in intellectual capital from experts that were never affordable to us before. Not only will we save time and money, but we will also have a better product and result from the new technology.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but it is also a tipping point.
If you'd like more information on getting yourself and your business up to speed, we have some resources at One Agents Alliance. We have a technology overview available on www.oneagentsalliance.net. Several of my blogs at “Growth Agent Insight,” also available on www.oneagentsalliance.net, describe how to maximize Zoom in the agency business. On my personal website, www.tonycaldwell.net, we have published new short books that include discussions of the use of Zoom and similar technologies. Those new books include:
I hope you'll download these free books and learn more about how Zoom can help you grow your business among other things.
Also, I'm launching a new podcast in September called "Uncaptive Agency: The Future of Insurance" where we will be discussing this new technology’s applications to the insurance agency business and many other topics with thought leaders from across the country, especially referring to how the industry will change in the next three to five years.
I'm tremendously excited about how Zoom can help you escape limitations in your business and help you grow even faster. It's time to get up to speed and stay on the cutting edge, of this new technology. We're in the horseless carriage period but we will be moving to supersonic in just a few years.