Back From The Future: Learnings From The Valley

July 30th, 2018
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Is tech dehumanizing? I just came back from a tech tour at the Silicon Valley, and during the 4 days I was there, no one brought this up. The common feeling in the tech ecosystem is that, if anything, tech is the most powerful human connector. At a time when people are afraid of being replaced by AI and robots, this doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen any time soon. Rather, AI helps create more human interfaces – when was an online form ever a “human-friendly solution? -, find investment opportunities, and train you for public speaking.

During the trip, I had a chance to visit the Salesforce office and experience the full Marketing Cloud consumer journey. If you think it sounds boring, think twice. These guys are as close as can be to fulfilling every marketer’s dream: serving the right content or service to the right person at the right time. I also paid a visit to Skydeck, the UC Berkeley start-up incubator. This is where the tech of tomorrow is being built. It was impressive to enjoy the views of the Bay Area from a robotics lab surrounded by coders and engineers. How many unicorns will come out of it? At least one: Limebike is well positioned to be acquired by Uber soon.


The best part though was the Tech Connect conference hosted by our bank, HSBC. I can safely say this was the best series of keynotes, panels, workshops and networking moments I’ve ever attended, with 70 SME HSBC clients from all around the world: France, UK, Germany, US, Canada, China, India, Mexico, and many others.

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Our host, award-winning anchor Kym McNicholas

Here are some the key learnings from the various talks

  • Data is the new oil. Mastery of data is critical to the future of any business. Most businesses are caught up in the day-to-day and don’t leverage their data as much as they could. While we’ve become good at collecting data and turning it into insight, few businesses turn insights into actions, and less so into actual impact. One take away for JIN: we should spend more time thinking about our data strategy, both from the agency’s perspective but also for our technologies (Plugr, PitchBoy)
  • Is the Internet of Value the next big thing? Some companies, like Ripple, believe that the internet will enable global exchange of payments as data points thanks to a universal blockchain. This will be the beginning of a second internet, the Internet of Value.
  • Be paranoid. All companies should live in fear of being hacked. Everything we design should be « cybersecure by design », especially since we manage so much of our clients’ confidential information. Cybersecurity is not just the CTO’s job: it’s everyone’s job to make sure we use safe passwords, log out frequently, update the anti-virus and have a safe internet usage behavior
  • Take decisive action. Two of the most interesting speakers (Mark Randolph, cofounder of Netflix and Cameron Chell, serial entrepreneur) had the same message: if you’re in trouble, recognize it, get everyone around you to recognize it, and do what it takes to recover. Ask for help, come up with risky and difficult ideas, and JUST DO IT. In short: do the next little thing you know needs to be done, not the next big thing you’re comfortable doing.


Netflix Co-Founder Mark Randolph

The event also offered some fantastic networking opportunities…


The French Delegation

…and a lot of fun watching the Rugby Sevens World Cup!

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So… a massive thank you to HSBC for making this event possible and… same time next year?

– By Eliott Maidenberg

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July 30th, 2018

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