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Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World

Life Tree Media,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Everything physical that can go digital will, so is your business going to be the next one to get “vaporized”?

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Media executive Robert Tercek switches between two authorial voices: Grandpa explaining digital history and Internet networks versus Cassandra warning about the consequences of the coming age of “vaporization,” when nearly every transaction and company will go digital. The former voice will appeal to college students and older businesspeople, but the latter voice is more interesting, in fact, fascinating. Tercek writes with clarity and logic. He admirably avoids jargon. His expertise informs the history he describes and the credible predictions he makes. This is a rare overview written by an insider with successful outside experience. He regards Apple, Google and Amazon as oligarchies whose leaders understand that no asset is as valuable as properly applied data. The future belongs to them. Of course, as Tercek explains, that raises issues of personal privacy and monopolistic business practices. getAbstract recommends this perceptive analysis to those new to digital businesses, those whose business model is at risk of vaporization and those hoping to profit from the coming shift from the physical world to the universe of data.


“Software-Defined Society”

Architect, author and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was fond of saying, “Let’s do more with less.” In 1938, he coined the phrase “ephemeralization” to describe how technology makes more with less material and how physical objects either shrink smaller or disappear altogether. Fuller believed this process fueled productivity. Looking ahead, he found that “three great currents” define the commercial world: unstoppable globalization, “dematerialization into knowledge” and infinite networking.

As businesses go digital, they become either software or software-derived. Amazon, for example, is a software-defined company. These entities are “adaptable,” expansive and multifaceted. As operations gain in information intensity, they shed their physical aspects and become more of a “service.” Uber, for example, has almost no physical assets: It owns no cars, garages or service stations. Yet it rules the market it invented. Amazon built its retail dominance with no stores.

Physical items contain data, but in the digital future, that information will be unlocked. Consider the once legendary Tower Records store on famous Sunset Boulevard...

About the Author

Robert Tercek was president of digital media at the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), senior vice president of digital media at Sony Pictures Entertainment and creative director at MTV.

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    R. A. 5 years ago
    An amazing book wrote by an exeptional man.
    This book emphasises what 23 years ago predicted Microsoft's Bill Gates.

    A mindblowing reading focused in the next generation of IT, Cloud Computing.
  • Avatar
    D. S. 6 years ago
    So how do you develop the next "switchboard" for your market? How do you get started?
    • Avatar
      6 years ago
      I would suggest to start from finding a Massive Transformative Purpose:

      And then apply IDEAS and SCALE principles from The Exponential Organization.

      Easier to be said than done, but it's a starting point ;)

  • Avatar
    R. A. 6 years ago
    Sehr gut Zusammenfassunf
    Love the way how did it Getabstract