1. 石黒浩 Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro @hiroshiishiguro
Japanese robot developer, Director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory in the Department of Adaptive Machines at Osaka University – has stated that soon ‘everyone (in Japan?) will have an android just like they have a mobile phone today’. Based on the belief that computers have already surpassed human abilities, Hiroshi predicts that robots are going to become more intelligent and surpass our abilities. While noting that ‘the more machines resemble people, the more they are at ease with them’, the academic and entrepreneur nevertheless concedes that sympathy turns to concern when the robots become too human and characterises the mental boundary which divides this attraction and repulsion as an ‘uncanny valley’.
This thinking about boundaries, and the line which separates the feeling of comfort and discomfort connected with technologies, is also at the heart of the new challenges of digital marketing and can be seen, for example, in the embrace and/or/then rejection of customised marketing pushed too far and going from Big Data to Big Brother. We are happy to be offered products which we are interested in, but we are uncomfortable with the idea of being completely predictable consumers (monitored, analysed), who are in the end as free as machines. The ethics of the Internet is a big issue in 2015!
Whether he convinces you or baffles you, Professor Ishiguro will indirectly provide food for thought about ethics and about good marketing practices in 2015. Follow the guru! Hiroshi Ishiguro on Singularity 1 on 1: Technology is a way to understand what is human!
According to the media outlet Viuz (look out for them as well in 2015), Robots are coming in 2015 and are going to become part of our lives. Beyond the initiatives of Jeff Bezos, who is increasing the number of his Kiva robots from 1500 to 10,000 to reduce the cost of Amazon’s logistics by 30 to 40%, new robots are also going to improve day-to-day life. This year Aldebaran‘s companion robot Pepper will be used in 10,000 Nestlé stores. Other limited projects like the car park assistants at Dusseldorf airport or OSHbot, Lowe’s robot sales assistants, are set to expand.
Further reading: Fier d’être un numéro? (Proud of being a number?), Influencia
And also: Plus d’anonymat et moins de publicité (More anonymity and less advertising), Indexel
2. Satya Nadella @satyanadella
The most political, but far from the least interesting, of our gurus. The approach of the Microsoft CEO on behalf of his company (and the rest of the world which is clearly attached to it) can be summed up in one word: ‘restart’. Satya Nadella is in the middle of pulling off a major achievement. He is currently reinventing one of the biggest information technology companies in the world, in a market which is undergoing tremendous change and being reinvented itself.
Let’s just look at one example – reinventing mobility. A vision, a prophecy, a promise: Mobile first, Cloud first. ‘We have a particular definition of mobility now which is generally limited to mobile phones. But tomorrow everything will be interconnected to the cloud and data. And it is the software which will be the link between all of this,’ explains the CEO in a filmed interview. In Satya’s opinion the mobile device is above all a way of accessing the cloud’s data. ‘The cloud is the link which makes it possible to achieve this vision.’ And it is a vision. It is a way of seeing the future and an attempt to give shape to this mental projection. Basically, a guru, and a proselyte who is preparing a cloud which will involve providing service to all types of devices (Windows Phone, iOS and Android), which Azure already does.
Satya and Microsoft will probably be more disruptive in 2015 than they have ever been in the company’s history. And the world is changing with them – Windows 10 and especially HoloLens could soon make Microsoft one of the leaders of future interactive media in direct competition with Facebook and its Oculus Rift.
3. Elon Musk @elonmusk
As the founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX (or Space Exploration Technologies Corporation – the company working in the field of astronautics and space flight which is now one of the two private service providers to whom NASA has entrusted freight transport to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the COTS programme), Elon really has the perfect profile of a guru – avoiding traditional uses and taking an interest in all digital areas, from e-commerce to personal transport, and also having unique charisma, a large audience and being listened to closely. Elon is The influencer, if indeed there is one. Disruption symbolises everything about this entrepreneur. It is the perfect example that success is first and foremost a state of mind.
But what has this got to do with our concerns? PayPal is no longer new and space flight seems quite distant from the digital transformation and day-to-day life of our companies and brands… except that this free spirit’s latest project concerns us all and concerns our commercial brands and organisations. Indeed, Elon hopes to build a space Internet and has already invested nearly 10 billion dollars so that he can provide Internet access to the whole planet and its 7 billion inhabitants via space. How? By setting up a network of 4000 small satellites navigating 36 kilometres above the earth and which can supply an Internet network anywhere in the world. Elon has even succeeded in getting Google on board and they have invested 1 billion dollars, which is proof of his influence if any was needed. By making space the new playground of digital, Elon will accelerate changes in new digital consumers’ behaviour. The impact on our brands will be considerable.
Elon is a guru to follow for his ideas and actions. Elon Musk, the 21st Century Industrialist, Bloomberg Businessweek Technology
4. Frédéric Cavazza @FredCavazza
Digital consultant and speaker with 15 years of experience in web activities and e-commerce with web agencies (Fi System, Wcube, Framfab and SQLI!) or major accounts (AXA, CNAM, Bouygues Telecom), but also writer and host of blogs and communities of experts on social networks, e-commerce, and other subjects connected with digital. Frédéric speaks to major B2B and B2C brands to share his vision and sound analysis of the digital industry.
The guru’s prediction for 2015: consumers will buy indiscriminately in stores or online depending on opportunities and their desires or constraints. As consumers are still as exposed to various digital and physical appeals, they will act on them by satisfying their needs regardless of the modus operandi.
Whether it is online or in store, buying will be based on satisfaction. 2015 will be the year dedicated to a perfectly decompartmentalised form of commerce. Communicating the quality of one’s products and services will be a decisive factor.
5. Alice Zagury @Alice_zag
Co-founder of The Family, a school for start-ups and a sort of growth accelerator. Business plans, storytelling, and branding for more than 180 French businesses. The entry requirement: The Family takes 1% of the start-up’s capital. Before launching the site in 2013 with two partners, Alice worked at Silicon Sentier and Le Camping (which she actually ran!), the Conseil régional d’Ile-de-France and Paris City Hall’s two business incubators.
She became familiar with communication during her studies at EM Lyon Business School and she is the one that actually comes up with the names for events organised by The Family: ‘Koudétat’ (coup d’état) for the entrepreneurship training programme; ‘Les Barbares attaquent’ (The Barbarians attack) to enlighten major groups about the coming digital disruptions sector by sector.
Alice is not a land but a wonder. Of all of our gurus, she is the most combative. You’ll definitely win the war with her in 2015 and you will avoid being ubered (see the section on buzzwords further on)!
Read: Alice Zagury, la marraine républicaine des entrepreneurs, La Tribune, Perrine Créquy
6. Jérémy Benmoussa @JeremyBenmoussa
e-Commerce Consulting Director at WAX Interactive, entrepreneur in the world of digital for many years, genuine Digital Strategist, creator and blogger at Locita, founder of #Code4all… Jérémy is our very own multi-talented digital guru.
His comments on 2015:
‘2014 was a year of awareness for brands. In 2014, they saw the extent to which connected objects are spreading and glimpsed the fabulous potential of their use in a professional setting, whether in retail or in workspaces.
I hope that 2015 will be the year that things get implemented. I think that brands now want to test this potential in their own environment and try out marketing approaches which are both localised and globalised using knowledge they can get from clients and by multiplying the interactions with them.’
That says it all, and sums it up powerfully, from theory, marketing and uses to the practice. Everything is a question of context and measure, testing and agility.
Follow Jérémy’s guru blog: www.benmoussa.net
7. Axelle Tessandier @axelletess
Consultant (read content strategist, trendspotter, writer, curator, bold thinker) and founder of AXL Agency, Axelle is one of the Frenchies who has made it in the USA. Having lived in California for five years, this former marketing director at the American branch of Scoop.it founded her ‘mini think-tank’. She knows everything about the challenges of digital, the management of innovation and generation Y, and shares her expertise with French businesses like My Little Paris, LeWeb or Puma.
Are you a manager faced with digital transition? Then follow this guru made in France. And as Axelle says in hipster English in the text: ‘Everything around u that u call life was made up by people that were no smarter than u.’
8. Brian Solis @briansolis
Expert digital marketing analyst and anthropologist at the Altimeter Group, Brian believes that the technological evolution of our societies puts digital at the heart of our concerns and daily life. He is the creator of the ‘Digital Darwinism’ concept – when technologies and society are evolving more rapidly than our ability to adapt to them.
As a pleasant, yet alarmist and even slightly troubling guru, his evolutionary vision in 2015 can be summed up as: Adapt or Die! In other words we are seeing the ultra-fast emergence of a multi-connected generation, the first which is not defined by age but by the level of its mastery of new technologies. Third-generation consumers are waiting for businesses to come to them, adapt to their needs, and they are fed up with being ignored. Businesses must become more flexible, understand that a business model is not rigid, and produce other tools to measure performance or success. The actual notion of ROI (Return on Investment) is obsolete on the Internet – it is more a case of thinking about Return on Influence, Return on Involvement or even Relevance of Interaction. It is no longer question of calculating ROI in money terms, but in terms of human influence, commitment and interactions. It is time to change our terms of reference.
Ultimately, a lot of intelligence in concentrated form. For all those who want to shake up their certainties a little, Brian is the ideal guru for 2015.
Read: Ce qui vous sauvera, c’est devenir humain (What will save you is becoming human), Regards Sur Le Numérique Mag, Antoine Bayet & Arthur Jauffret
9. Natalie Massenet
Guru or prophet? The countless speeches by the founder of Net-a-Porter and member of the British Fashion Council sound like Madonna’s Kabbalistic statements at first, but with one clear difference however: Natalie’s advice is genuinely well-informed and she masters her field of e-commerce for the world of fashion and more widely, online retail (e-tail) formidably well. As a trend visionary, this Californian is considered to be one of the 100 most influential people on the planet by Time magazine.
If you dream of a world where the pages of magazines are directly connected to your FedEx delivery man, follow Natalie – she is your guru!
Read also: Lessons From Natalie Massenet, Vogue UK, and www.vogue.co.uk/person/natalie-massenet
And also: http://time.com/70889/natalie-massenet-2014-time-100/, Time
10. Vous !
You! The top tip for survival: follow your instincts in 2015 and move forwards intuitively towards what you want and stick to your desires. As we said about Elon Musk, success is a state of mind. What if the next digital guru is you? WAX Interactive and SQLI Enterprise can support you to make your digital projects happen together – from consulting through to implementation on behalf of businesses and IT departments.
Let’s win the war together!