Much has been made about human jobs that will potentially be replaced by automation and artificial intelligence in the coming years. But where does that leave businesses that base so much of their success on intimate, human connections? And how can owners who are already struggling to stay in business today contend with the prospect of having to future-proof their companies?
I reached out to three owners, Ben Landers, CEO of internet marketing firm Blue Corona in Rockville, Maryland; Laura Mignott, co-founder of DigitalFlash, an integrated branding agency in New York City; and Brendon Schrader, CEO of marketing agency Antenna Consulting in Minneapolis for their opinions on how they future-proof their companies.
How did you decide where to focus your business and how did present and future marketability play into that decision?
Ben Landers: Blue Corona wasn't launched in a startup lab with someone else's money. We bootstrapped the company based on a market need observed first hand. When you're in this process, you don't have the luxury of spending too much time worrying about the future marketability of it.
Laura Mignott: DigitalFlash is a brand elevation agency. We know that technology would always be there, but we are in the connecting people business. Technology is just another tool to help foster communication and one-to-one social interactions.
Brendon Schrader: My decision on where to focus both my business and our service offerings was based on an in-depth review of the marketplace and the identification of where we could bring innovation to a stagnant industry. This allowed us to identify the whitespace in market and ultimately influenced how we created a firm that could be unique now and into the future.
How might the rise of AI and automation affect your business? How do you keep abreast of these trends?
Schrader: There will always be new technologies and trends. What matters is that you pay attention to these trends early and clearly understand the impact they could have on your customers and business. My strategy is to set aside time every week to read, research and stay current on the issues facing our industry.
For the rest of the interview, take a look at the AMEX Open Forum.