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Let’s get you educated on the Sensors Explosion & the Rise of IoT

Posted by Cliff Locks On October 30, 2019 at 10:06 am / In: Uncategorized

Let’s get you educated on the Sensors Explosion & the Rise of IoT

“Hey Google, how’s my health this morning?”

“One moment,” says your digital assistant.

It takes thirty seconds for the full diagnostic to run, as the system deploys dozens of sensors capturing gigabytes of data.

Smart sensors in toothbrush and toilet, wearables in bedding and clothing, implantables inside your body—a mobile health suite with a 360-degree view of your system.

“Your microbiome looks perfect,” Google tells you. “Also, blood glucose levels are good, vitamin levels fine, but an increased core temperature and IgE levels…”

“Google—in plain English?”

 “You’ve got a virus.”

“A what?”

“I ran through your last forty-eight hours of meetings. It seems like you picked it up Monday, at Jonah’s birthday party. I’d like to run additional diagnostics. Would you mind using the….?”

As the Internet of Things catapults to new heights, Google is developing a full range of internal and external sensors, monitoring everything from blood sugar to blood chemistry.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

The list of once multi-million dollar medical machines now being dematerialized, demonetized, democratized and delocalized—that is, made into portable and even wearable sensors—could fill a textbook.

Sensor Proliferation

Sensors will not only transform healthcare and diagnostics. Any electronic device that measures a physical, quantitative value—light, acceleration, temperature, etc.— then sends that information to other devices on a network, qualifies as a sensor.

Sensors add intelligence to our appliances. But more importantly, they add hours to our lives.

Consider that in less than a decade, when you run out of coffee, your kitchen cabinet will detect a shortage (cross-referencing sensor data with your coffee-drinking habits) and order more. A blockchain-enabled smart contract will subsequently place an order, triggering an Amazon drone delivery directly to your doorstep.

And of course, your very own Butler-bot might soon transport these freshly ground beans from delivery box to cabinet, sparing you the trouble.

If advances in computing power, AI, and networks represent the center mass of the digital revolution, then today’s sensor uprising is the outer edge of that revolt.

Comprising the first part of tomorrow’s smart environment information-processing pipeline, sensors are the data-gathering apparatus that provide our computers with the information they need to act.

Case Study: The Oura Ring

Not much more than a sleek, black band, the Oura Ring is the most accurate sleep tracker on the market, thanks to its TK sensors.

The product began in 2014 at an infectious disease lab in Finland. Health researcher Petteri Lahtela noticed that many of the diseases he’d been studying, including Lyme disease, heart disease and diabetes, shared a curious overlap: all of them negatively affected sleep.

Lahtela started to wonder if all these diseases cause insomnia or if it worked the other way around. Could these conditions be alleviated or, at least, improved, by fixing sleep?

To solve that puzzle, Lahtela decided he needed data, so he turned to sensors. In 2015, driven by advances in smartphones, we saw the convergence of incredibly small and powerful batteries with incredibly small and powerful sensors.

So small and powerful, in fact, that building a whole new kind of sleep tracker might be possible.

The sensors that caught Lahtela’s fancy were a new breed of heart rate monitors, particularly given that heart rate and variability serve as excellent sleep quality indicators. Yet at the time, all such trackers on the market were riddled with issues.

Fitbit and the Apple Watch, for instance, measure blood flow in the wrist via an optical sensor. Yet the wrist’s arteries sit too far below the surface for perfect measurement, and people don’t often wear watches to bed—as smart watches can interrupt the very sleep they’re designed to measure.

Lahtela’s upgrade? The Oura ring.

Location and sampling rates are its secret weapons. Because the finger’s arteries are closer to the surface than those in the wrist, the Oura gets a far better picture of the action. Plus, while Apple and Garamond measure blood flow twice a second, and Fitbit even raises this figure to 12x/second, the Oura ring captures data at 250 times per second.

And in studies conducted by independent labs, the ring is 99 percent accurate compared to medical grade heart rate trackers, and 98 percent accurate for heart rate variability.

Twenty years ago, sensors with this level of accuracy would have cost in the millions, requiring reasonably sized data centers and tremendous overheard processing costs.

Today, the Oura costs around $300 and sits on your finger—a perfect example of sensors’ exponential growth. 

Connected Devices and IoT

We are in the middle of a sensor revolution. The street name for this uprising is the “Internet of Things,” the huge mesh network of interconnected smart devices that will soon span the globe.

And it’s worth tracing the evolution of this revolution to understand how far we’ve come.

In 1989, John Romkey, one of the inventors of the transmission control protocol (TCP/IP), connected a Sunbeam toaster to the internet, making it the very first IoT device.

Ten years later, sociologist Neil Gross saw the writing on the wall and made a now famous prediction in the pages of Business Week: “In the next century, planet Earth will don an electric skin. It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations […] These will monitor cities and endangered species, the atmosphere, our ships, highways and fleets of trucks, our conversations, our bodies—even our dreams.”

A decade later in 2009, Gross’ prediction bore out: the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people on the planet (12.5 billion devices, 6.8 billion people, or 1.84 connected devices per person).

A year later, driven primarily by the evolution of smart phones, sensor prices began to plummet. By 2015, all this progress added up to 15 billion connected devices, with researchers at Stanford predicting 50 billion by 2020.

As most of these devices contain multiple sensors—the average smart phone has about twenty—this also explains why 2020 marks the debut of what’s been called “our trillion sensor world.”

Nor will we stop there. By 2030, those same Stanford researchers estimate 500 billion connected devices. And according to Accenture, this translates into a US$14.2 trillion economy.

Hidden behind these numbers is exactly what Gross had in mind—an electric skin that registers just about every sensation on the planet.

Consider optical sensors. The first digital camera, built in 1976 by Kodak engineer Steven Sasson, was the size of a toaster oven, took twelve black-and-white images, and cost over ten thousand dollars. Today, the average camera that accompanies your smartphone shows a thousand-fold improvement in weight, cost, and resolution.

And these cameras are everywhere: in cars, drones, phones, satellites— with uncanny image resolution to boot. Already, satellites photograph the Earth down to the half-meter range. Drones shrink that to a centimeter. And the LIDAR sensors atop autonomous cars are on track to capture just about everything—gathering 1.3 million data points per second, and registering change down to the single photon level.

Implications

We see this triple trend—of plummeting size and cost, alongside mass increases in performance—everywhere.

The first commercial GPS hit shelves in 1981, weighing 53 pounds and costing $119,900. By 2010, it had shrunk to a five-dollar chip small enough to sit on your finger.

The “inertial measurement unit” that guided our early rockets was a 50-pound, $20 million device in the mid-60s. Today, the accelerometer and gyroscope in your cellphone do the same job, yet cost about four dollars and weigh less than a grain of rice.

And these trends are only going to continue. We’re moving from the world of the microscopic, to the world of the nanoscopic.

As a result, we’ve begun to see an oncoming wave of smart clothing, jewelry, glasses—the Oura ring being but one example. Soon, these sensors will migrate to our inner bodies. Alphabet’s Verily branch is working on a miniaturized continuous blood glucose monitor that could assist diabetics in everyday treatment.

Research on smart dust, a dust-mote-sized system that can sense, store, and transmit data, has been progressing for years. Today, a “mote” is the size of an apple seed. Tomorrow, at the nano-scale, they’ll float through our bloodstream, exploring one of the last great terra incognita—the interior of the human body.

We’re about to learn a whole lot more, and not just about the body. About everything. The data haul from these sensors is beyond comprehension. An autonomous car generates four terabytes a day, or a thousand feature length films’ worth of information. A commercial airliner: Forty terabytes. A smart factory: A petabyte. So what does this data haul get us? Plenty.

Doctors no longer have to rely on annual check-ups to track patient health, as they now get a blizzard of quantified-self data streaming in 24-7.

Farmers now know the moisture content in both the soil and the sky, allowing pinpoint watering for healthier crops, bigger yields and—a critical factor in the wake of climate change—far less water waste.

In business, agility has been the biggest advantage. In times of rapid change, lithe and nimble trumps slow and lumbering, every time. While knowing every available detail about one’s customers is an admitted privacy concern, it does provide organizations with an incredible level of dexterity, which may be the only way to stay in business in tomorrow’s accelerated times.

Final Thoughts

Within a decade, we will live in a world where just about anything that can be measured will be measured— all the time. It will not be your knowledge that matters, but rather the questions you ask.

It’s a world of radical transparency, where privacy concerns will take on a whole new meaning.

From the edge of space to the bottom of the ocean to the inside of your bloodstream, our world’s emerging electric skin is producing a sensorium of endlessly available information. And riding rapid advances in AI, this “skin” possesses the machine learning required to make sense of that information.

Welcome to the hyper-conscious planet.

Board of Directors | Board of Advisors | Strategic Leadership

Please keep me in mind as your Executive Coach, openings for Senior Executive Engagements, and Board of Director openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Email me: Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com or Schedule a call: Cliff Locks

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#BoardofDirectors #BoD #artificialintelligence #AI #innovation #IoT #virtualreality #vr #AR #augmentedreality #HR #executive #business #CXO #CEO #CFO #CIO #BoardofDirectors #executive #success #work #follow #leadership #Engineering #corporate #office #Biotech #Cleantech #CAD #entrepreneur #coaching #businessman #professional #excellence #development #motivation Contributors: Peter Diamandis and Clifford Locks #InvestmentCapitalGrowth

The value of an MBA in today’s business

Posted by Cliff Locks On April 17, 2019 at 10:04 am / In: Uncategorized

The value of an MBA in today’s business

If so, why?

Should you, your colleagues or your children go to graduate school?

If not, what are your alternatives?

Millions of young adults across the globe — and their parents and mentors — find themselves asking these questions every year. I have three children and each has earned their Masters’ Degrees. My oldest son earned his MBA in Entrepreneurship, my youngest son earned his Master in Engineering, and my daughter earned her Masters in Social Work. Each is gainfully employed and building a great life for themselves. Only one went to an Ivy League School. The child that went to New York State University, I think received an amazing education for the tuition investment. Two of my children choose to attend a Study Abroad Program, one for a semester and one for a year, which allowed them to grow culturally and gain additional independence and highly recommend.

My earlier blogs, explored how exponential technologies are rising to meet the needs of the rapidly changing workforce.

In this blog, I’ll dive into a highly effective way to build the business acumen and skills needed to make the most significant impact in these exponential times.

To start, let’s dive into the value of graduate school versus apprenticeship — especially during this time of extraordinarily rapid growth, and the micro-diversification of careers.

The True Value of an MBA

All graduate schools are not created equal.

For complex technical trades like medicine, engineering and law, formal graduate-level training provides a critical foundation for safe, ethical practice.

(Until these trades are fully augmented by artificial intelligence and automation…)

For the purposes of today’s blog, let’s focus on the value of a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree, compared to acquiring your business acumen through various forms of apprenticeship.

The Waning of Business Degrees

Ironically, business schools are facing a tough business problem.

The rapid rate of technological change, a booming job market, and the digitization of education are chipping away at the traditional graduate-level business program.

The data speaks for itself. 

The Decline of Graduate School Admissions

Enrollment in two-year, full-time MBA programs in the U.S. fell by more than one-third from 2010 to 2016.

During the 2018 admissions period, applications to business schools in the United States dropped 7 percent from the previous year.

While in previous years, top business schools (e.g. Stanford, Harvard, and Wharton) were safe from the decrease in applications, this year, they also felt the waning interest in MBA programs.

  • Harvard Business School: 4.5 percent decrease in applications, the school’s biggest drop since 2005.
  • Wharton: 6.7 percent decrease in applications.
  • Stanford Graduate School: 4.6 percent decrease in applications.

Another signal of change began unfolding over the past week. You may have read news headlines about an emerging college admissions scam, which implicates highly selective U.S. universities, sports coaches, parents and students in a conspiracy to game the undergraduate admissions process.

Already, students are filing multibillion-dollar civil lawsuits arguing that the scheme has devalued their degrees or denied them a fair admissions opportunity.

MBA Graduates in the Workforce

To meet today’s business needs, startups and massive companies alike are increasingly hiring technologists, developers, and engineers in place of the MBA graduates they may have preferentially hired in the past.

While 85 percent of U.S. employers expect to hire MBA graduates this year (a decrease from 91 percent in 2017), 52 percent of employers worldwide expect to hire graduates with a master’s in data analytics (an increase from 35 percent last year). 

We’re also seeing the waning of MBA degree holders at the CEO level.

For decades, an MBA was the hallmark of upward mobility towards the C-suite of top companies.

But as exponential technologies permeate not only products but every part of the supply chain — from manufacturing and shipping to sales, marketing and customer service — that trend is changing by necessity.

Looking at the Harvard Business Review’s Top 100 CEOs in 2018 list, more CEOs on the list held engineering degrees than MBAs (34 held engineering degrees, while 32 held MBAs).

There’s much more to leading innovative companies than an advanced business degree.

How Are Schools Responding?

With disruption to the advanced business education system already here, some business schools are applying notes from their own innovation classes to brace for change.

Over the past half-decade, we’ve seen schools with smaller MBA programs shut their doors in favor of advanced degrees with more specialization. This directly responds to market demand for skills in data science, supply chain and manufacturing.

Some degrees resemble the precise skills training of technical trades. Others are very much in line with the apprenticeship models we’ll explore next.

Regardless, this new specialization strategy is working and attracting more new students.

Over the past decade (2006 to 2016), enrollment in specialized graduate business programs doubled.

Higher education is also seeing a preference shift toward for-profit trade schools, like coding boot camps. This shift is one of several forces pushing universities to adopt skill-specific advanced degrees. 

But some schools are slow to adapt, raising the question: how and when will these legacy programs be disrupted? 

A survey of over 170 business school deans around the world showed that many programs are operating at a loss.

But if these schools are world-class business institutions, as advertised, why do they keep the doors open even while they lose money? 

The surveyed deans revealed an important insight: they keep the degree program open because of the program’s prestige.

Why Go to Business School?

Shorthand Credibility, Cognitive Biases and Prestige

Regardless of what knowledge a person takes away from graduate school, attending one of the world’s most rigorous and elite programs gives grads external validation.

With over 55 percent of MBA applicants applying to just 6 percent of graduate business schools, we have a clear cognitive bias toward the perceived elite status of certain universities.

To the outside world, thanks to the power of cognitive biases, an advanced degree is credibility shorthand for your capabilities.

Simply passing through a top school’s filtration system means that you had some level of abilities and merits. 

And startup success statistics tend to back up that perceived enhanced capability. Let’s take, for example, universities with the most startup unicorn founders (see the figure below).

When you consider the 320+ unicorn startups around the world today, these numbers become even more impressive. 

Stanford’s 18 unicorn companies account for over 5 percent of global unicorns, and Harvard is responsible for producing just under 5 percent.

Combined, just these two universities (out of over 5,000 in the U.S., and thousands more around the world) account for 1 in 10 of the billion-dollar private companies in the world. 

Figure: Universities with the most unicorn startup founders

By the numbers, the prestigious reputation of these elite business programs has a firm basis in current innovation success.

While prestige may be inherent to the degree earned by graduates from these business programs, the credibility boost from holding one of these degrees is not a guaranteed path to success in the business world.

For example, you might expect that the Harvard School of Business or Stanford Graduate School of Business would come out on top when tallying up the alma maters of Fortune 500 CEOs.

It turns out that the University of Wisconsin-Madison leads the business school pack with 14 CEOs to Harvard’s 12.

Beyond prestige, the success these elite business programs see translates directly into cultivating unmatched networks and relationships.

Relationships

Graduate schools — particularly at the upper echelon — are excellent at attracting sharp students. 

At an elite business school, if you meet just five to 10 people with extraordinary skill sets, personalities, ideas or networks, then you have returned your $200,000 education investment.

It’s no coincidence that some 40 percent of Silicon Valley venture capitalists are alumni of either Harvard or Stanford.

From future investors to advisors, friends and potential business partners, relationships are critical to an entrepreneur’s success.

Apprenticeships 

As we saw above, graduate business degree programs are melting away in the current wave of exponential change.

With an increasing $1.5 trillion in student debt, there must be a more impactful alternative to attending graduate school for those starting their careers.

When I think about the most important skills I use today as an entrepreneur, writer and strategic thinker, they didn’t come from my decade of graduate school at Harvard or MIT… they came from my experiences building real technologies and companies, and working with mentors. 

Apprenticeship comes in a variety of forms; here, I’ll cover three top-of-mind approaches:

  1. Real-world business acumen via startup accelerators
  2. A direct apprenticeship model
  3. The 6 D’s of Mentorship

Startup Accelerators & Business Practicum  

Let’s contrast the shrinking interest in MBA programs with applications to a relatively new model of business education: startup accelerators.

Startup accelerators are short-term (typically three to six months), cohort-based programs focusing on providing startup founders with the resources (capital, mentorship, relationships and education) needed to refine their entrepreneurial acumen.

While graduate business programs have been condensing, startup accelerators are alive, well and expanding rapidly.

In the 10 years from 2005 (when Paul Graham founded Y Combinator) through 2015, the number of startup accelerators in the U.S. increased by more than tenfold.

 Figure: The number of startup accelerators in the U.S. from 2005 through 2015.

The increase in startup accelerator activity hints at a larger trend: our best and brightest business minds are opting to invest their time and efforts in obtaining hands-on experience, creating tangible value for themselves and others, rather than diving into the theory often taught in business school classrooms.

The “Strike Force” Model

The Strike Force concept is hiring an elite team of young entrepreneurs who work directly with top level senior C level team members on a rotation basis across your departments/division within your business, including travel by executives side, sit in on every meeting, and help build business and be mentored at the same time.

Previous Strike Force members have gone on to launch successful companies, including Bold Capital Partners, my $250 million venture capital firm.

Strike Force is an apprenticeship for the next-generation of exponential entrepreneurs.

To paraphrase Tony Robbins: If you want to short-circuit the video game, find someone who’s been there and done that and is now doing something you want to one day do.

Every year, over 500,000 apprentices in the U.S. follow this precise template.

These apprentices are learning a craft they wish to master, under the mentorship of experts (skilled metal workers, bricklayers, medical technicians, electricians, and more) who have already achieved the desired result.

What if we more readily applied this model to young adults with aspirations of creating massive value through the vehicles of entrepreneurship and innovation?

For the established entrepreneur: How can you bring young entrepreneurs into your organization to create more value for your company, while also passing on your ethos and lessons learned to the next generation?

For the young, driven millennial: How can you find your mentor and convince him or her to take you on as an apprentice? What value can you create for this person in exchange for their guidance and investment in your professional development?

The 6 D’s of Mentorship

In my last blog on education, I shared how mobile device and Internet penetration will transform adult literacy and basic education.

Mobile phones and connectivity already create extraordinary value for entrepreneurs and young professionals looking to take their business acumen and skill set to the next level. 

For all of human history up until the last decade or so, if you wanted to learn from the best and brightest in business, leadership or strategy, you either needed to search for a dated book that they wrote at the local library or bookstore, or you had to be lucky enough to meet that person for a live conversation.

Now you can access the mentorship of just about any thought leader on the planet, at any time, for free.

Thanks to the power of the Internet, mentorship has digitized, demonetized, dematerialized, and democratized. 

What do you want to learn about?

Investing? Leadership? Technology? Marketing? Project management?

You can access a near-infinite stream of cutting-edge tools, tactics, and lessons from thousands of top performers from nearly every field — instantaneously, and for free. 

For example, every one of Warren Buffett’s letters to his Berkshire Hathaway investors over the past 40 years is available for free on a device that fits in your pocket. 

The rise of audio — particularly podcasts and audiobooks — is another underestimated driving force away from traditional graduate business programs and toward apprenticeships. I use Audible by Amazon for my audiobooks.

Over 28 million podcast episodes are available for free. Once you identify the strong signals in the noise, you’re still left with thousands of hours of long-form podcast conversation from which to learn valuable lessons.

Whenever and wherever you want, you can learn from the world’s best.

In the future, mentorship and apprenticeship will only become more personalized.

Imagine accessing a high-fidelity, AI-powered avatar of Bill Gates, Richard Branson or Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar (two of my early mentors) to help guide you through your career.

Virtual mentorship and coaching are powerful education forces that are here to stay.

Bringing It All Together

The education system is rapidly changing.

Traditional master’s programs for business are ebbing away in the tides of exponential technologies.

Apprenticeship models are reemerging as an effective way to train tomorrow’s leaders.

In a future blog, I’ll revisit the concept of apprenticeships and other effective business school alternatives. 

If you are a young, ambitious entrepreneur (or the parent of one), remember that you live in the most abundant time ever in human history to refine your craft. 

Right now, you have access to world-class mentorship and cutting-edge best-practices — literally in the palm of your hand. What will you do with this extraordinary power?

Please keep me in mind as your Executive Coach, openings for Senior Executive Engagements, and Board of Director openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Email me: Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com or Schedule a call: Cliff Locks

Contributor: Peter Diamandis