You need two types of knowledge to succeed in the business world: specialized technical knowledge and deep customer knowledge. This will allow you to create uniquely valued experiences tailored to your customers and thus build a thriving business.
Jason LaBaw, as the founder and CEO of Bonsai Media Group and a pioneer in web development, AdWords, Google Analytics, and Umbraco development, has accumulated over 18 years of industry experience, client service, and strategic leadership in the digital world and has become an expert in combining technical and customer knowledge to scale.
In this episode, Jason touches on how he believes the future will look and what principles he is certain will be invaluable to thrive in a futuristic economy, such as empathy, planning, and budgeting.
0:00 | Intro to Entrepreneurial Management
1:56 | Introducing Jason Labaw
3:10 | Businesses Coping with Technology
7:11 | Ways to Engineer Technology
8:32 | How to Work & Run a Business These Days
10:31 | End-user Experience
11:52 | User testing
12:35 | Secrets of Empathy
14:49 | Getting into Depth with Bonsai Media Group
21:01 | Trends: Augmented Reality
24:40 | Storytelling as a marketing
25:20 | Story about the Future
27:39 | Gamifying Work
29:30 | Risks of Technology to Entrepreneurs
31:52 | Learn More About Bonsai Media Group
Combining customer knowledge and tech knowledge.
One of the Value Creator’s mantras is to combine deep customer knowledge with specialized technology knowledge to create uniquely valued experiences for customers and thereby build successful businesses.
Jason LaBaw has done this successfully at the company he formed, Bonsai Media Group. He illustrates how it’s perfectly viable to start simply and advance quickly.
- An early example of a project is one where the company, in customer service mode, transformed a trivia app request from a client into a social contest that engaged users and immersed them in the brand’s story.
- This evolved into various combinations of the digital and physical worlds through scavenger hunts – which became an exploration of the potential of AR and VR.
- AR and VR can be further combined with 3D product imaging. It turns out that 3D experiences are hugely beneficial for conversion rates.
- Combining his experiences in both the digital and physical realms, he began envisioning ways to create immersive experiences that merge AR and the real world: to make exploring the world as fun as playing a video game, using technology to encourage people to get out and explore the real world around them.
Simple steps towards a complex future.
With these relatively simple business steps, Jason has now advanced to become a futurist of AR, VR, and AI. While some believe these technologies have been overhyped, Jason believes they have tremendous potential to transform human experiences. He emphasizes the importance of human connection and expresses his hope that future generations won’t be locked in virtual worlds. He sees augmented reality, AI, and voice-enabled technologies as key drivers for positive change. For instance, he envisions a scenario where augmented reality glasses enhance meetings by providing contextual information and augmenting reality with relevant data.
The discussion also touched on the concept of gamification. Jason explains how gamifying networking events can facilitate connections and conversations by using augmented reality cues to identify shared interests. He believes gamification can also be applied to work, where incentives and rewards can be used to motivate employees and create a more engaging and efficient work environment.
There are basic economic principles underlying this futuristic scenario.
Empathy remains the essential skill for businesses, no matter how futuristic or high-tech. Jason emphasizes the importance of having conversations and conducting in-person interviews with various stakeholders, including frontline workers, managers, and customers. This qualitative data gathering allows businesses to uncover valuable insights and understand how customers perceive their brand and experiences. Jason recognizes the value of quantitative data, such as analytics and user testing, in making informed decisions and improving products, but it’s best when it is in addition to qualitative data,
This way businesses can focus on their customers’ needs, goals, and preferences to create competitive advantages. He suggests that companies can provide value by enabling customers to perform tasks online, like paying bills.
Planning and budgeting
Planning, allocating budget, and continuously iterating based on customer feedback and analytics are crucial for adapting to change
Jason suggests a general formula for coping with technological change, starting with a budget-focused approach. By analyzing different options and making design and technical decisions based on budget and return on investment (ROI), businesses can adapt to changing technologies. He emphasizes the need for clarity and defining a project’s ROI from the start. By allocating budget or accruing it, businesses can invest in technology iteratively over time, improving functionality, and user interfaces, and switching components when necessary.
Additionally, Jason highlights the significance of having a contingency plan to deal with unexpected events or disruptions. He shares an example of a company that had to pivot quickly when a technology vendor was acquired. Being prepared with alternative vendors or technologies enables businesses to adapt swiftly.