[Thoughts] I don’t believe in digital

Sun orbiting around flat Earth

I have caught this statement in a social media newsfeed. A connection of mine commenting on a dinner with two major french companies somewhere in New York.
I must admit I have been thinking about it since then, and I’m still trying to figure out how someone can decently say that – unless they have been living in a cave or have a clamshell phone.

The problem with this statement is that it is equivalent, in my opinion to stating you don’t believe in electricity, combustion or computing.
Unless – and I assume this is the case – you are talking about digital advertising (this topic deserves a proper post if you allow me).

The problem with “digital” is the same as the one of contemporary art. It forces you to define the limit of “digital” as contemporary art forced to redefine the limit of Art.
If everything is Art – beyond wooden frames, museum halls and accepted academism – … then nothing is Art.
If everything is “digital” then nothing is digital… and you have once again failed to name it and define it. Back to square one.
And digital advertising is not “Digital”.

In order to understand what Digital is, you need to understand the impact the 1st and 2nd industrial revolutions had on agriculture, biotechnology, communication, hardware, engineering, medicine, transport… name it.

Then I would invite you to study again how the transition to this new technologies, methods and processes tremendously impacted human standards of living (food and nutrition, housing, consumer goods…), population increase, labour conditions and organisation, urbanisation, mass production…
There are great article on wikipedia… but if you don’t believe in digital, you’ll hardly know about wikipedia.

Now step back, and think again. You get it?

Digital is the evolution from analog, mechanical and electronic technologies and processes to a new form of technologies and processes enabled by the binary system – zero and ones, and computed by machines.
Using binary computation system, any kind of information can be copied, edited, moved without any loss of quality.

This coupled with the proliferation and inter-connection of devices ( see Wikipedia for Moore’s Law and Internet or the history of inventions derived from Quantum Physics theory such as computer, transistor and WWW) allows for an exponential number of possible interactions (ie. exchange of content, communications, and commercial transactions) between human and machines (ie. human to human, human to machine, machine to machine).

So when you say: I don’t believe in digital… you basically say you don’t believe in the existence of computer, email, game consoles, ATMs, mobile phones, the Internet, the pictures your friends sent through the other day, the hotel you booked for your vacation, the groceries your got delivered this evening.

This is what keeps me awake at night (among many other things some may say…). When you claim you don’t believe in digital, you basically demonstrate that you ignore the disruption that is taking place and it’s magnitude.

There’s sufficient literature to be found in libraries and even on a place called Internet regarding how postal services, retail, travel, music and news video industry have been disrupted.
If you are reading the news, you might get a sense of things happening in transport, financial services, automotive, health…
Please note I’m talking about the business here… not advertising.

So you might not believe in digital, just like some people didn’t believe the Earth was orbiting around the Sun, and that it was NOT flat. I just think that if you’re a senior executive in a company you deserve to be fired as you’re a danger to the business you’re in.

Right, I said it… feel better now.


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