Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871 and one of the primary speakers at Thursday’s Chicago Entrepreneurial Center 2014 Startup Forecast, gave a signature Tullman-style talk, augmented with lively visuals and occasionally colorful language. Here are excerpts.
Forward, not backward
"It's not just who are you, but where are you headed? That’s the gate. That’s the stakes today.
Google now does a better job of tracking real estate trends than the organizations in the business, than the actual associations who are Realtors. Google is more predictive and more accurate in terms of the next 90 days of the real estate market.
"The credit card companies are doing a fabulous job of predicting whether or not you’re going to get divorced. How do they do it? They look at same-city hotel charges, at flowers sent to addresses other than your home… Why do they do it, other than being just pervs? They do it because divorced couples tend to default on their credit card charges.
"If you’re stuck in search, if you're looking for results, you're actually losing a step on the competition. The idea of moving from diagnostics and analytics, to prognostics and projection is where we’re going… Those kinds of tools are going to put in our hands, at exactly the right time, the information that we really need, and that we value."
"We're slammed with content. We're slammed with email. We're slammed with so many things that I think we’re going to see a significant step backwards. Niches are going to be really important going forward. Scale is significant. But quality of communication, interaction and real engagement are going to be much more important.
"They’re not small. They’re highly curated and very valuable, because they’re authentic, if you do it right. They're interactive, and they have enormous value because they tend to be the audience you really want to reach.
"Nobody wants to ship tonnage anymore. (Companies) want to ship to people that matter, and people that are engaged, and people that are going to consume and value your communications to them, and their products and services."
Speed, not size
"In the world that we live in today, you can make dust and be running ahead of people, or you can eat the dust and sit there and lose.
Safeway (offers) real-time pricing on an individual product basis. Do they give me the best price for my Charmin? No. Why? Because I love Charmin. They give the best price to somebody who uses (a competing product), who they want to incent to use Charmin. And they do this in a speed that’s astonishing.
"We’re in a position now where we can, in the time it takes — roughly 10 to 30 milliseconds — to load a web page, we can fashion and conform a personalized offer to the consumer based on everything that we know about you.
"Amazon does an unbelievable job at this. Right now, not only is about 30 percent of Amazon’s revenue being generated by their own recommender engines, but more people are going to Amazon for product searches than to Google.
"The little guys are going to get killed unless we figure out — we entrepreneurs figure out ways to empower them with comparable tools to compete with the big guys.
"The one good news is, from a consumer standpoint, search is going to get better and faster and more particularized. But from a competitive standpoint, and from a product standpoint, it's going to be really, really tough.
"Speed is the state of the competition. Speed is how the game is going to be played."
Connected companion devices
"The idea that we’re connected has morphed now into devices, not just wearables but devices that in every sense enable us and empower us in every instance and every kind of business context.
"We're all tethered, but not only are we tethered to devices we think about, but all of the devices around us are also becoming enabled, and will communicate. This is the Internet of things."
"Everything will be on demand. We don’t talk about television anymore. We talk about video assets that are going to be distributed across all kinds of channels.
"The truth is that for anybody under a certain age, the first screen is a mobile device.
"And so we're seeing more and more of the death of appointment TV. We'll see sporting events. We'll see talent shows. We'll see catastrophes. We'll see a couple of other things that require aggregated audiences. But, by and large, we’ll do everything from binge viewing to basically ordering up whatever we want, whenever we want it.
"(Technology is) permitting us to do shorter and shorter communications. We’re going to see video-enabled communications. It's basically the default way that we share.
"Camming is building a business in your bedroom that isn't porn.
"Camming is essentially people who have figured out that you can reach astonishingly large, very valuable audiences, using video inexpensively produced, in your home, in your room. And you can make significant amounts of money and reach huge populations. This is just beginning. People are able to reach audiences, to have them pay, and to create businesses in ways that are almost totally virtual. It's a really exciting thing."
"When you go back not so many years, the personal computer permitted us for the first time, individually, to create powerful digital assets. And then the Web came along and it permitted us to share those assets. And then collaborative tools came along to let us work together worldwide. And then lastly, after all that stuff was created, Google came along and let us find it.
"More and more of us are going to work for ourselves. This trend is going to expand and increase. That's exciting in some ways. It's also lonely in some ways. Places that create community, like 1871, are really, really valuable.
"We're going to have more and more services that connect us to other services and other businesses. We're not going to use traditional channels.
"Here’s a couple of tips on being a freelancer. It turns out that you only have to deal with two out of three.
"If you do really good work, and you're on time, it doesn't matter if you're an asshole.
"If you are really talented in terms of the work, and a good person, you can be late. You can get away with almost anything.
"Lastly, you don't have to be that great. If you're just really nice to do business with, it turns out that people connect with people as much as they connect with products and services."
Wiki work – the workplace is everywhere
"We're going to be able to work any place. We're going to be able to pull together enormous talented people, stay-at-home moms, PhDs. All kinds of people can join your team, and join your workforce in really amazing ways because of connectivity.
"We're going to recapture opportunities when we’re commuting, when we’re stuck places. All of these things are going to increase the productivity of the whole country in very, very powerful ways.
"For about 10 years or more, scientists were trying to solve a particular protein issue in connection with
AIDS. Couldn't do it. They pushed this problem out to about 200,000 gamers. And they solved the problem in about 10 days, because they thought of it as a puzzle. They didn't know it was science. They didn't know that it was really important stuff. They just said, oh, wow, we have to just figure out how to do this."