Some interesting data points from last week's news:
- Profits at Amazon skyrocketed 800 percent, fueled by its cloud services.
- Revenue at Alphabet (Google's parent company) jumped to $21.5 billion, a 21 percent increase over last year's second-quarter.
- Profits at Facebook nearly tripled, driven by new users and mobile ad sales.
What do those tech giants know that other companies don't? What is it about today's consumers that Amazon, Google and Facebook so clearly understand - and that others fail to grasp?
Here's my perspective, based on three decades of personally observing the ups and down of modern technology markets:
- Companies that fully commit to the digital economy are the winners. If you're not committed to a digital strategy, you're not heading for success.
- Consumers rule, totally. Your products and services must be designed and built with the consumer experience (CX) at the very front of your mind. CX cannot be an afterthought - it's got to be the first thought.
- Enable and allow consumers and users to help your company create, design and improve your products and services. Bring consumers into the iterative loop of continuous improvement by providing tools and platforms to incorporate their fresh ideas and creativity.
- Share your resources. Expose your code. Encourage developers to use your platform for their projects. It's not an accident that Amazon is reporting record profits - it's largely due to the success of EC2, the company's innovative cloud server and hosting service.
Always remember: The pace of technology change is always much faster than you think it will be. Some companies are still trying to figure out the cloud. Frankly, it's too late for them. The next generation of incredibly successful companies is already focusing on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, advance manufacturing and quantum computing.
Why are they focusing on those areas? Because they understand what consumers really want and need. Today's consumer is okay with a cool mobile phone. Tomorrow's consumer will expect completely immersive and perfectly seamless virtual experiences, available from any device, at anytime, anywhere.
Is your company working on products and services that deliver the kinds of technology-enabled experiences that consumers genuinely desire? I sincerely hope you are developing your digital strategy and that you are moving in the right direction. The success of your company and your career will depend on it. What's your opinion?