Show Notes

In this episode I’m fortunate to interview Craig Rispin, Business Futurist and Thought Leader. Craig spends his days discovering and explaining the future simply so that people can not just know what the future holds, but to find ways to capitalise on it.

Our guest’s motto is to know first, be first, and profit first. Knowledge is power and profit. Knowing what the future holds can give your business an edge in knowing how to operate and what to focus on which will lead to success. As a Business Futurist, Craig’s insight on digital trends and how it will affect us is certainly something we all need to hear. Craig shares what he believes are the top 5 digital trends that people can capitalise on now for themselves and their business

Can you imagine inhaling intelligent nanobots in the future to monitor your health? How about augmented reality, machine learning, and 3D Printing? How are these trends going to affect industries? How is social media changing everything nowadays?

On Digital Marketing

Although not a social marketing expert, he acquires 50% of his revenue via LinkedIn. His approach in social marketing is as simple as practical as “follow your listener’s ears and eyes”.

About Our Guest

Craig Rispin is a Business Futurist and Innovation Expert his expertise is in emerging business, people and technology trends – and how companies can profit from them.

Craig has over 20 years’ experience working where the future has been created – with some of the most innovative companies in the world in the IT, consumer electronics, internet and broadcasting industries.

He is an award-winning speaker and has addressed audiences as large as 16,000 people on 5 continents and has consulted with CEOs of leading companies worldwide.

Show Links





Hello. I’m Serena Dot Ryan and welcome to the See Digital Clearly show. This show is dedicated to inspiring action. Each episode there is an interview with the forth-later doing great things for digital. they will share their insights and experience to get you inspired and focused to create the life you want thanks to digital.

In this episode, Craig Rispin business futurist, joins me.

S: Welcome Craig.


C: Hi there, Serena it’s fantastic to have this conversation with you today I’m so excited.

S: Fantastic, so am I Craig. Tell me about what do you do as a business futurist?

C: Well, I teach people what’s going on in the space of business, people, and technology. And one customer said to me a while ago and I use it as my master message, “Oh Craig, so you’ve really helped me know first about things, how to do things so I can be first, and you’ve helped me profit first” and so, it’s been my motto ever since that. Know first, be first, profit first. To look at what’s happening in the world so you can keep up and profit from it


S: Fantastic. So, for you, can you tell me what are your top five digital trends we should be aware of for business?

C: Wow, that is a big question and lots of people have different opinions. Mine are gonna be pretty out there, because as a futurist I look a little bit further. But let’s talk about things that are close right now. Some digital trends that were seeing, and that people will be seeing in augmented reality stuff. So machine learning, and cognitive computing, or artificial intelligence as they, are moving in ways, people know that.

And they’re talking about that, a lot one of my clients said that they used an automated chat bot to replace 35 people in their call center.


S: Wow!

C: Yeah, they didn’t fire them, just moved them into marketing to better jobs. So, there is machine learning of course, and things in the physical world as well. Of course, 3D printing. Everybody knows about that, but I don’t know if you heard about a house that was printed in a day, for less than $10,000, just yesterday.

S: That’s amazing I think it saw that on Facebook come up.

C: Yeah, from Russia, done in Russia.

S: Wow.


C: Yeah and I’ve seen an apartment house, five stories high that was printed in five days. So I guess that’s a going thing in the near future you can print your house in a day for about $10,000 a floor. I think that’s incredible to think about. And of course they’re 3D printing cars,as well. Yes, 3D printing cars, believe it or not.

S: It completely changed manufacturing.

C: Yes, completely changing. A prediction from Google’s top futurist, who is also their head of engineering, and one of my mentors, from the World Futurist Society, Ray Kurzweil. He is working in Google now, that’s his first real job. He has been predicting technology and patenting it, and then licensing it for most of his career, but now his first real job is working in Google. And at Google, he is making this prediction that is going to blow people’s mind.

But um, should we scare them Serena or should we tell them about this? Do you think we should share it?

S: I think why not. It doesn’t hurt to, I think, go there why not. Let’s do it.


C: Okay. So at Google, of course they’re working on machine learning, they’re doing quite a lot of that. And they got that company Alphago that beat a human, the Grandmaster at the game of Go. But their head futurist predicted at a conference where I saw him speak, that in a not too distant future we will have nanobots in our blood stream, that will monitor our health 24/7, communicate it to health authorities, and if you are going to have a stroke or heart attack an ambulance will pull up to you along the side of the road has you’re walking down the street saying “Get in, you’re about to have a heart attack.” That sounds pretty good for health care in the future.

But he also said, that these little tiny bots that we will inhale, (inhales) literally inhale into your body, will code our brain, amplify our intelligence, and can connect us to the internet full time. So some people get freaked out by that. I asked somebody when I told them that “Would you like to amplify your intelligence, monitor your health, and know before you get sick. And also be connected to the internet through your brain?” And they said “Will there be ads? I’d hate a pop up ads to my brain.”


S: I love that thought, I totally agree. It’s like you obviously want to switch that off if you could.

C: Yeah, and so when it comes to the digital marketing online, and what people do, you know your motto see clearly. And, what’s happening, the automation of digital marketing, its coming, with those bots its coming. Intelligence bots. And you know, Facebook has them, and WeChat in China, and LinkedIn’s about to have them, as well.

Their head of engineering at LinkedIn, said that LinkedIn will soon have a bot that if you say to someone in the message area that’s turning more into a chat room rather than email on LinkedIn now. It will say would you like to schedule a coffee with this person Craig? And then it go back and forth and confirm automatically everything for you you don’t have to go back and forth with the emails. So I understand that’s coming in LinkedIn soon.


S: Such a great time, super.

C: Yeah I know. And so soon I think we’ll be using more and more intelligent agents. And this will be a great, great thing for small business. Where they don’t have people they can monitor digital channels full time.

S: Its like, absolutely you can go from being such a challenge running as business, potentially with way many hats. And if this is something they can take some of the tasks away, can make business much productive.

C: That’s absolutely right. So I see this happening already. Not just in high end call centers, where they can move people out of the call center and move them into marketing, promotion to all those people. I bet you’d be really happy with that. But I think it would be really useful to a small business as well. So I see it all around me.

And, you know, I look at these short term trends that are changing the world like 3D printing it’s changing the world. And that’s a shorter trend to this long-term trend where we are going to have intelligent agents in our body monitoring our health, and the helping us connect. So i wonder if we will even have screens in the future or just see things projected into our eye.


S: So is it more, did you say augmented reality?

C: Yeah I can see that. I think that’s coming for sure. I read a science fiction book when I was a young boy. And it was this idea that everybody would have glasses on, and everybody would have their reputation points floating above their head in augmented reality. So you have like a little experience point thing above your head as if your in video game.

And I was telling a group of students in Singapore about this and they said “Oh, like this?” and they turned their iPhones around and there was an app that did facial recognition on me, and showed them that I was on LinkedIn and had more than 10,000 connections and more than 500 recommendations more than 3,000 endorsements and how many friends on Facebook that I had ,and how many Twitter followers.

And i’m like “Well that’s it! Soon that will be in goggles, maybe in the next version of Snapchat goggles, or spectacles as I call them or maybe you know straight into our eyes our eyes straight into the nerves with these little robots.” And when you meet someone it will say “This is Serena Dot Ryan. Hey Craig don’t you forget that she’s part of your mentoring program? Don’t you know that she is a digital marketing expert helping other people understand, educating them, and helping them execute? And don’t you remember that Craig?” and I’m like, “Oh yes, oh hi Serena, how are you? How is that digital marketing education going?”


S: Fantastic.

C: I know.

S: Its like, so there’s already so many things we have to remember, definitely has its advantages.

C: I think so, and i think of the next decade of my life, as I approach my 60s in this decade, I think i’ll require that more and more so i’m looking forward to that. I don’t want to have any senior moments I want a Google moment.


S: I love it. So, there are so many different digital trends that we can be taking advantage of, to the point of where, I know you made a comment there to be scared, and you can get to that stage of being scared and not doing anything because of it. How do you help people overcome that?

C: Well, we narrow it down to what’s going to be the biggest impact for them, and so I’m not a social marketing expert, in any sense, although I do get more than 50% of my revenue from LinkedIn and have gotten a few clients from Facebook. But people ask me advise all the time because they hear me say that, that i get more than 50% of my revenue through LinkedIn. And they asked me “Well, what should I focus on there are so many we could do doing Snapchat or Instagram, or we could be doing Facebook or Linkedin, or we could be doing PaperClick or we could be sponsoring podcasts, what do we do Craig?”

And I say, well you got to follow your listeners’ ears and their eyes. What are they looking at what are they reading, what are they watching, what are they listening to. And you follow them, you go to those places, and you will be there too. And so for me my business is almost exclusively business-to-business, LinkedIn is my ideal place because it’s the biggest marketplace for business to business. But if I’m a consumer company, I’m sure I’d spent a lot more time on Facebook.

And if I had a restaurant, and I had some foodporn, as they call it, because that’s what you have to have now if you’re a restaurant. You have to have Instagram, Snapchat worthy imagery, you know your food has to look great.

Now I have to say I’m guilty of that. I’ve snapped some foodporn myself. And, oh man, I had this, I ordered this artisanal muesli with poached pear and pecans. Oh it’s so good i snapped a picture and the pair was all plum covered, colored, and sent it to my wife and said “Are you doing foodporn?”


S: My goodness. You are so right, our expectations are to be in visual, more than ever, for whatever we are doing. As consumers, we hold that in very high regard. So that’s definitely a challenge to make sure, particularly, if it’s a physical product to get it right.

C: Yes. So this is an amazing thing that this role has popped up within the hospitality sector. And they’re actually hiring hundreds,thousands, of food stylist to work with chefs. To turn them into artists with their food. Now a lot of them had this training, when they trained to be chefs. But there not really stylists are they?

S: Absolutely.


C: Yeah, and so they are hiring food stylists now. And because they found that if they don’t have those, that imagery, you you just don’t get the traffic go to your restaurant.

S: It’s interesting because previously it’s a very niche job when suddenly required for, when you’re doing traditional print or TV. And now because of social media, you’re right it has emerged as being something really significant. For a couple of restaurants in getting their social media rise, and the hours spent in actually getting the photography and the visual context is something that people don’t quite people realize at how important it is.


It’s so important. And yes you can see this with all the social networks. That, LinkedIn is looking more like Facebook and there’s lot of visual things thre now rather than just text updates. Really encouraging big photos on your profile and in your stream. And of course now, on Facebook, live video. People don’t realize is this about Facebook, you could live broadcast on Facebook now, with Facebook live to 1.9 billion people if you wanted to, for free!
S: Absolutely.

C: So that means their the biggest broadcaster in the world.

S: Yeah it is actually a reality now, we’ve got Facebook TV. You can actually get the app for your Apple TV now as well. So it’s quite exciting to actually see that evolving. Its phenomenal to actually see the evolution of the television and the traditional way we look at it is now changing.


C: It sure is and you just think of what happened in America this last campaign, and I’m not talking about the participants in any way. But I’m just talking about the digital side of the technology. When you look at where they launched their campaigns: one was on Facebook live, one was on YouTube live, they weren’t on ABC, NBC, they weren’t on the major broadcasters, they launched on these digital platforms.

One of the reasons for that is, well, it’s free and it has farther reach than any one broadcaster ever could. You know, we get probably over two billion people watching the Olympics but that’s on a bunch of different broadcasters and are paid millions of dollars to get the broadcast rights. So what happens if the Olympics comes to Facebook and two billion people can get it? What’s that going to do to those television licenses that they make hundreds of millions of billions of dollars on?

S: Absolutely.

C: Its really going to disrupt TV I think, it already is.


S: I’ve noticed there was a fight. Recently there was a subscription model through FOX, I don’t know if you saw it. That, several people who have paid decided they’d put it to Facebook live.

C: Oh yes, I saw that, yeah. Boy, yeah they were angry about that. Because their pay per view where they get I think $35 per viewer. And they’re streaming it live, oh,and they were not happy with that.

S: No I was most amused where I actually saw these people who have done it. When they created GoFundMe pages so that they can actually fight when FOX came knocking. And they did come knock, so yeah, not sure how that’s evolved now, but it obviously shows how social media is interrupting a lot of traditional media in advertising.


C: Yeah, it changed everything. Just think about life events now. If you go to a live concert, people got their phones up in front of them recording it, in front of you. And some people are holding up their giant iPADs, blocking your view and it’s like come on people put them down. But one band I know, developed an app and they asked everybody in the audience to connect to a particular WIFI hotspot or network that they’d setup. And they captured the video from their phones, all simultaneously, and they actually used it to make a live music video. And so it was like having thousands of different cameras around the stadium. So it’s like one of those views where you can switch it in time on those cameras anywhere around.

S: Fantastic.


C: Oh it was incredible looking. I don’t know how, what technology they used behind in that. But that’s a perfect example of having thousands of cameras shooting live events just like you don’t even have to go. But actually tickets sales are up. So it’s this thing dealing with the future where you see counter trends emerging all the time. Give you one quick example.

You can use autonomous driverless cars, we could use that and put five million people out of work in America, the professional drivers in society. Or we can save 40,000 lives of the people that get killed on the roads every year. So there is this big debate about, yeah well we can have the driverless cars but what do we do with the five million people that make their living driving cars?

S: So you got this sort of yin and yang. And you’ve got people that going into music events and their watching it through their phones rather than watching it with their eyes. Yet, live ticket sales are up. In fact, Madonna doesn’t even have a record company anymore she only has a touring company because that is where the money is. And you got to think, wow, isn’t that weird that at the same time we are spending a lot of time online, we are really into spending a lot more money for experiences. So that’s face-to-face is stuff, so.


S: That’s a really good point. I think, I might feel the same. I hear people are saying all the time, well, with all these social media and technology we’re not spending enough time face-to-face anymore. And I seem to think that, I don’t know I think that is not necessarily the case. If ticket sales are up, that’s indicating, thinking on the same line that people want more experiences.

C: They do. It’s all about the experience economy. And I hear it all the time as I’m out there doing my work, speaking in conferences and mentoring business owners again and again. I see this experience economy. People want to have unique experiences. And so a great example of this is a store in New York City called, STORY. Story, and so what’s the story right? And what they’re doing is, it’s just a blank canvas and people come in there and set up retail displays.

And you can actually buy things but they can also teach classes and having experiences and then a few weeks later they wipe it clean and install a new experiences. And so the story keeps on coming in and it has a different story. Oh it’s so cool and it’s getting a lot of people raving about it. And what a great idea making a store more like a magazine. So you get a new issue there’s a new theme and has all stories in there about it. But there’s also ads, and you can buy things from it you know. You can go to the website and buy something.


S: Fantastic.

C: Oh yeah. And I think that merging between the digital channel in the physical channel, I think we are going to see more of that. So, you know, in e-commerce they call it clicks in order so people are buying online and then picking it up in store returning it store and buying something online. Oh I’m seeing that for retail, for commerce, for all sorts of things. I think that’s what we have to keep in balance. I say that people we need to be high tech need to be high touch at the same time.

C: When people connect to me on LinkedIn I have this policy of meeting them face to face. People think I’m crazy. But because I have that policy of meeting people, that is how I get 50% of my business. And most people just see, click, connect and do nothing.


S: I love that philosophy as well. I’d say I adapt it as well. I feel, it should be the, facilitator to the real world.

C: I think so. I mean that’s what was it intended to be when it all started. And I’m really, I was around when it all started. The first social network was set up by a bunch of futurists and it was called the WOW. And this was decades before Facebook ever was. And it was one of the first examples of those social networks bulletin boards where we are sharing ideas and connecting to one another. It have this policy of meeting each other as well as we travel around the world. It was really a special thing but then they sort of let that policy go as more people connected and then we got the flamers in. And Oh boy. Taking people down and dirty names and all sorts of things. And well people just basically abandon the Wow.


S: The original trolls.

C: Yeah the original trolls, that’s right. And, well I think it’s a perfect example of what not to do. You know, no don’t be all digital. You know be face to face as well. Because it’s still so important. And it just facilitates, I think digital facilitates connecting with customers, and suppliers, and colleagues. And that’s my philosophy, yeah, keep them balance, high tech and high touch.

S: Wow. Thank you so much for your time Craig, that insight is immense.

C: Oh, thank you. It was pretty wide-ranging conversation we went all over the place didn’t we?

S: Well, I find, that’s fully good analogy for what digital is. You can go so many different places.


C: Yes you certainly can.

S: Yeah, I think, what i have taken from what you said today is: well while there are so many things that we could be afraid of that are coming, the intention is to make our lives easier. And if we approach it as a positive rather than a negative, and use it as a facilitator digital will actually make our lives better.

C: Well I think so, I think you have to have that world view, or else you are going nowhere. Well I want to say thank you to you as well, it’s been a very good conversation. Can we do it again sometime?

S: I think that would be fantastic Craig, I’d love to hear your insights further and how we can actually make our lives different.

C: Alright let’s schedule that, that would be fantastic.

S: Fantastic! Thanks again Craig and I’m sure will chat again real soon.

C: Yeah see you soon face to face real life. Alright.


Thanks for listening, the best time for you to take action is now. Get out there, and use digital for what it’s intended for, to make your life a better one.

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