Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Creating Meaning by Acting in the Moment

man having presentation at seminarIn so many scenarios both personal and professional, the ability to make a difference, to both act and react in a meaningful way, is a time-stamped activity with “decay” starting at the close of the incident to which one is reacting or the opportunity on which one wants to act.

The ability to act in What Andrew Jeavons called “The Point of Emotion” is absolutely core to creating meaningful interventions and driving business forward.  Most feedback, listening, and engagement solutions today are asynchronous when the radioactive decay of meaning has already gone through several half-lives; thus the inefficacy of so many solutions and apps that purport to help companies or organizations gather meaningful feedback or facilitate meaningful communication and engagement.

While the potential to rectify this has been greatly enhanced with the advent of the smart-phone, not enough people convert this potential into kinetic change.  For many, the “distance” between incident and action still exists and as such the point of emotion is often missed.  In some situations, that is fine; clearly cooler heads sometimes prevail. But in most situations, both knowledge of facts and the “activation energy” required to connect and engage dissipates quickly; as a result we often make false promises to ourselves and create lists of “to do’s” that should have been acted on in the moment.

Wearables provide another shot at greatly enhancing our ability to act in the moment.  The very fact that wearable computing is now a real thing is half the battle.  The other half is getting people to actually avail of the potential of these devices.  In  my opinion, technology itself does not create culture change, but it can help.

Take the set of devices that people refer to as “fitbits” (even though there are many brands)  The technology helps people track activity but the “gamification” aspects enhance usage.  So the real gambit is the combination of technology and culture.

That’s why I am excited about a new company in my advisory portfolio- Limefy.  They make wearable devices for networking- cool stuff but not enough.  The part I liked the most is that the device lights up in accordance with their “Blinkmatch” algorithm and the lighting-up creates a conversation starter.  It provides the “nudge” most of us need to truly allow ourselves to benefit from the technologies available.

There are many other examples of this.  We are in a world where we can now act quickly on a stimulus and do so at scale.  Wearables help this process but only when developed in concert with the cultural nudges we need to both act and react.

Romi Mahajan is a marketer, author, and investor and advises a variety of companies, including promising technology startups.

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About Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan is a globally-renowned marketer, IT and strategy thinker, and author.

His career is a storied one, including spending 9 years at Microsoft, being the first CMO of Ascentium, a leading digital agency, and founding the KKM Group, a boutique advisory firm focused on strategy and marketing. Romi has also authored two books on marketing: most recently, "To Thine Own Self: Honesty in Marketing".

A prolific writer and speaker, Mahajan lives in Bellevue, WA, with his wife and two kids.

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