Estonian Mafia: A Technology Powerhouse that Influences the World

Estonia?

Two years ago, I knew nothing about this small European country. Then, I started working with the Estonian Mafia. It changed how I think about innovation.

A No-limit Country

We are our own limits. Marcus Aurelius said it very well:

“The mind knows no obstructions, except those from within.”

Estonians decided that limits weren’t a good idea. So they used digital technology to get rid some limits:

  • Kazaa popularised peer-to-peer download;
  • Skype made flying for a meeting out of fashion;
  • Playtech changed what going to casino means;
  • TransferWise transformed how transferring money abroad is being done.

FinTech Revolution: How Startups Are Transforming Finance (Updated)

Since 2008, an increasing number of technology ventures have been revolutionising the financial industry.

This is what I called in 2013 the “FinTech Revolution”.

In this article, I focus on the reasons for this revolution from a strategy and innovation perspective.

I also listed some of the best FinTech ideas. These are great examples of disruptive ideas that have now become significant providers of financial services.

A Change of Paradigm

The internet has allowed an innovative jump to occur in many industries. Customers have now an easy, very affordable access to books (e.g. Amazon), furniture (Made.com), TV (Netflix), education (Coursera.org), media (YouTube)…

Being “Data-Driven” Isn’t Compatible with Being Innovative

Data is a drug for the decision makers of the 21st century.

“We’re a data-driven company”, they tell you proudly.

But a company, which seeks change and wants to make a difference by challenging the status quo, doesn’t make strategic decisions that are driven by data.

A long-term, game-changing strategy can’t be based on reports and predictive data. They won’t tell you what to do next and how to do it.

Worse, when data is a click-away, your competitors are likely to make similar decisions, since they look at the same data sets.

Blockchain & Smart Contracts: The Dawn of Distributed Health?

A break from the norm: Some insights into my work at Alcimed. I wrote this to assess the potential use and risk of the blockchain and smart contracts in healthcare.

What is the blockchain technology?

Birthed as the technology behind Bitcoin’s online payment system, a blockchain is a distributed ledger that holds an ever-expanding “chain” of data. It digitally connects users, uniquely allowing peers to transact in an online currency, or cryptocurrency. It enables hundreds of thousands of everyday transactions without the usual administrative, financial, and security barriers of processing so much data. As “blocks” of data are distributed among all its users, more data is irreversibly added and time-stamped with each transaction. The blockchain brings a new dimension to transparency, validation, and data storage.

Solopreneur: Why Is This Recent Business Trend Growing?

solopreneur

You’re already indifferent to this, but let’s think about it for a few secs:

The internet has just changed how we run businesses.

Imagine the excitement for someone who wanted to start a business 20 years, if they had access to the same technology.

 

solopreneur_excitement

 

Of course, they would jump for joy!

You can do so much now:

You can spread ideas and stories and virtually reach anyone in the world. You have access to an amount of knowledge nobody has ever dreamt of before. You can design and build things with people you’ve never met. You can do all of these at scale, without any need to be hired by a firm.

Disruptive Innovation and Disruption

Disruptive Innovation vs. Disruption

In business ‘disruption’ refers to two competing concepts:

  1. A creative thinking method popularized by Jean-Marie Dru (Chairman at TBWA\WORLDWIDE) in 1992;
  2. A strategy framework developed by Clayton Christensen (Professor at Harvard Business School) in 1994.

What is the difference?

A Different Scope

In True Disruption, an article Dru argue that Christensen’s definition of disruption is too narrow.

Here’s what disruption means for Dru:

Disruption refers to everything that is not gradual change.

If you want to dig more into this creative process, I’m a fan of Dru’s book: Beyond Disruption.

Market-Network: A New Type of Business Model

Social network. Marketplace. SaaS. These buzzwords are no longer synonyms of massive business opportunities.

The gold rush has already happened.

But a new business model has emerged.

Market-networks are hybrid animals: part social network, part marketplace, part SaaS. [1]

  • It’s a social network. Professionals use profile pages to showcase their work and demonstrate their credibility. They also connect with each other and build relationships.
  • It’s a marketplace. Professionals come online together to find other parties with whom they can do business.
  • It’s a SaaS tool. Professionals use the tools on the top of the marketplace to negotiate, do the job, or manage the paperwork.

Will the Apple Watch Impose a Dominant Design for Smartwatches?

apple-watch-dominant-design

 

Everyone is wondering whether the Apple Watch will be a success. Failure or success, this smartwatch will remain a famous business case study.

At the moment no one knows what is going to happen. As Apple has had a strong track record since the first iPod, experts and journalists have been very kind with their reviews of the new device. Instead of showing strong opinions, they raise questions or just record movies of them using the watch. Keep in mind that when Apple released the iPhone in 2007, journalists had much stronger opinions.

How Minimalism and Simplicity Become Popular in Mobile Apps

This article focuses on a particular ingredient of success for mobile apps: simplicity. This concept is key for the numerous entrepreneurs who are launching apps every day, as well as for the investors who back these ventures.

For the past seven years, mobile apps have experienced exponential growth. After the iPhone was launched in 2007, skeptical people thought it was too risky to develop a whole business based on an app because you automatically became Apple-dependent (at the time Android were not yet ready). However, fantastic M&A examples such as Instagram or WhatsApp have proven them wrong. It is indeed possible to build a whole business based on an app.