Sharks, Disney, and The Egg

Back in January, my first post focused on the outward facing digital strategies a firm might consider. What an incredibly myopic topic. Digital strategy is many, many things. The way I’d like to organize my main takeaways is by revisiting three class presentations. These topics encapsulate the diversity and complexity that now come to mind when I think about digital strategy.

Image result for shark meme

Shark Spotter

Shannon’s presentation represented the best of the promise of “tech.” Shark Spotter has it all: it saves humans, it saves marine life, it makes money. It even has positive network effects; the more municipalities that use it, the smarter the algorithm gets, the more lives – human and marine – it saves. That is 👌🏽.

Shark Spotter isn’t dangerous or superfluous. It won’t rob my identity and it’s sole purpose isn’t to smell the food in my fridge. It serves a purpose that advances our society and objectively makes our world a better place in which to live. Why isn’t Shark Spotter a “unicorn”?

https://cdn1.parksmedia.wdprapps.disney.com/media/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mhfjje840001.jpg

Disney

Melissa’s presentation represented a different kind of optimism. It showed me that a company that began with a silent film in 1923 – and is now worth ~$250B – can find new growth with digital innovation. Disney took one of its key products, the Disney World experience, and made it better, more impactful, and even more profitable. That’s insane. It’s the ultimate “and one more thing…,” to quote Steve Jobs.

Upon graduation, many of us will be joining large, perhaps decades old, institutions. Many of these firms have ways of doing business that everyone internally has just accepted. Corporate autopilot. May we all remember this stark example of corporate reinvention before we fall victim to this mindset.

Image result for egg costume

The Egg

Man, Aidan’s presentation on The Egg was something else. I laughed. I cried. I said to myself, “wtf is wrong with our society?” The internet remains a deeply weird place, and I think that’s a good thing. It still represents insane creativity, moderate confusion, and carny-style “step right up!” commerce.

There’s enough negativity about the internet to fill a few more [thousand] blog posts, but the egg represented a semblance of hope. It was as if, in the midst of a ground war, something appeared overhead in the sky. For a moment we all stopped firing at each other, stared upwards, and collectively thought: “wtf? Yeah I’ll Like that.”

Egg 2020.

11 comments

  1. dancreedon4 · ·

    I like how you used the diversity of class presentations to summarize the semester. I honestly had not heard of the egg account prior to Aiden’s presentation, and having the main social media accounts I literally felt like I lived under a rock not knowing about this. The egg sure did show the positive and promise of social media. Your point about corporate reinvention is so true, it doesn’t matter how old a company is…if they are not with the times technological wise, they will crumble.

  2. debhan10 · ·

    Hahaha what a great recap of this course! You’re right- digital strategy is so diverse and nuanced, whether it be impactful in ridiculous, creative, or practical ways. The egg is a perfect example of how powerful the Internet can be, and how easily enticed our society can be. I look forward to what the next big digital phenomenon will be, although I’m convinced that nothing can beat how ridiculous the egg was. (I can totally relate to the “wtf is wrong with our society” comment.)

  3. jlrose03 · ·

    Comical take Jim! Most of your contributions have been light but impactful with capturing the insight that is needed to be seen. The presentations you listed all stood out to me as well and were such a great reel of diversity. From sharks, to eggs, and then to Disney characters – if you had mentioned all three topics outside of this class, many might find it hard to connect the dots. However, because of the strong teachings in this class, we were able to dig deep and apply digital tech to these firms. Thanks for your last post!

    1. jimhanrahan7 · ·

      Thanks for kind words!

  4. You know, I think this is the first time in the nearly 10 years of teaching this class that I can recall someone doing a final wrapup through the eyes of the top presentations. Nice angle!

  5. csaitta4 · ·

    Loved that you decided to conclude this semester with comments about presentations we got from our peers. One of my favorite parts of the semester was that we learned as much from each other as we did from Professor Kane. It was really cool to see what classmates are up to at work (or were up to at past positions) or were just excited about in the space of emerging tech. I learned about so many different applications of technology that I never would have imagined could exist.

  6. dilillomelissa · ·

    Very cool way to display what our class encompassed and taught us. I was so surprised at the creativity our classmates brought to the table. Each week showed us such unique perspectives of what digital technologies exist and the angles that each take on. Your presentation, Jim, also gave such an interesting perspective I won’t forget!

  7. cgriffith418 · ·

    I love that you pointed to Shannon’s SharkSpotter presentation as a truly good tech development, that seems almost immune from the bad sides of tech we often bring up. It’s interesting that, as you said, developments like this are not unicorns, while social media and other double-sided developments are. I think it can partly be attributed to profitability potential, but I think as a society we also tend to be attracted to the flashier innovations, over the functional ones. I’d venture to say a vice that we’d be better off without, but I suppose its a little too late to stop that moving train! We, could, however make an effort to make socially conscious investments, keeping the negatives of tech in mind.

    1. jimhanrahan7 · ·

      Totally agree. I don’t expect these one-sided platforms to become unicorns, but what if – WHAT IF – we gave them just 5% more capital?

  8. merrimju · ·

    You have been one of the beacons of joy in this class- from your presentation on the bad side of twitter to ever hilarious blog posts! I’m glad you were able to see the good in technology and digital business with the shark scanners, though that is not where I thought you’d take this article haha. So I agree, Egg 2020!

  9. shannonbenoit5 · ·

    Loved the way you wrapped it up with the presentations as I feel they are such a great representation of what this class is all about (and very honored that mine make it into the mix!). So funny that those three topics sound a bit insane in the same sentence, but tech is the common thread that relates them all, which is pretty amazing. I really enjoyed your comments both in class and on the blogs all years so thank you for that. #Egg2020

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