How to survive the onslaught of digital companies

Last night I met a former partner of the U.S. broker for Purple Bricks. He scared me.

Companies like Expedia ruined the careers of travel agents. Amazon is strangling retailers in general and book stores in particular. Uber crushed the taxi drivers, and self-driving cars will crush the Uber drivers.

Purple Bricks is coming for the Realtors. Is any business safe?

When I got home, our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box was on the porch, full of organic fruit and kale. The farmer also packed his newsletter in the box, filled with beautiful stories of growing food, his favorite recipes, and his own musings about life.

I don’t think artificial intelligence will ever replace people like that.

You may have to retool, learn new skills, change your products or even your industry. But don’t ever change who you are. In fact, you need to project your personality into the world if you want to survive. Live, personal, organic–those things are too messy for AI. Make them your primary tools.

But keep the cold, calculating focus of a machine.

I used to think that investing in yourself, building new skills, was the best protection against an uncertain future. But if a new technology is going to make your skills irrelevant, then maybe it’s time to go back to good old fashioned capital: Owning property, land, machinery, vineyards, buildings.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments.

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