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Visionary Lital Marom on Success in the Digital Age, the Platform Economy, and More

Visionary Lital Marom on Success in the Digital Age, the Platform Economy, and More

Innovation strategist and visionary Lital Marom works closely with leading global brands to drive digital transformation. Currently the founder and president of the consultancy UNFOLD, her work focuses on the integration of new business models and the application of emerging technologies, such as distributed ledgers (blockchain), artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Lital’s experience has made her one of our leading speakers on disruption, innovation, technology, and new economic models. We asked her to share some of her insider’s perspective on what we can expect to see as industries continue to experience exponential change, growth, and transformation.

What type of businesses will get disrupted next?

Companies that can’t adapt, disrupt, or re-imagine themselves—and the way they serve their customers—should be on high alert. Emerging technologies will disrupt every industry. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will soon. And if it has happened, that’s no reason to rest. Airbnb changed the hotel industry, but the hotel industry isn’t done changing. That’s the power of exponential technologies. They redefine our economy.

What are the key differences between companies that prosper and companies that fail in the digital age?

The key difference is mindset. Our minds are wired to think linearly while our world is moving exponentially. A company with an incremental mindset focuses on improving their current approach. Companies with exponential mindsets focuses on developing new approaches.

For example, Facebook wants to make the world more open and connected and Google wants to make the world’s information universally accessible. Those are exponential mindsets at work, tapping into new technologies and advancements to create something entirely new.

You can have an army of data scientists or develop artificial intelligence, but if you still have a linear strategy, you’re going to fail.

Many startups fail. How do you create a successful small to mid-size business in a winner-takes-all business environment?

It’s true. Platforms polarize the market very quickly. Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are all platform companies that dominate our economy, but they didn’t get there overnight. They started by doing something different, then scaled that idea iteratively until they could compete with the existing establishment.

Small and mid-size companies have an opportunity to find their niche in the spaces that aren’t being served by the tech monopolies. When they can take advantage of that niche in a platform business model, they can create their own winner-takes-all opportunity.

How does building a platform business differ from building a traditional business?

The biggest difference is how revenue is generated and is poised to scale. The revenue of a traditional company is generated by an internal workforce — their employees. A platform-based business generates revenue by leveraging a workforce that’s mostly outside the company. Uber drivers, Airbnb hosts, and Amazon merchants are the workforce creating value for their respective platforms. In turn, the platforms get a percentage of each transaction. And as the transactions grow exponentially, so does revenue.

What do you see happening within the next few years regarding regulations for platforms and how might this change the way they operate?

Regulations haven’t kept up with the monopolies we have today and that’s about to change. New businesses bypass a lot of regulation when nothing specifically addresses their unique structure and approach. Traditional monopolies were based on scarcity. Now, one company can be everywhere and do everything. That said, after all these privacy and data allegations we’ve seen recently, the biggest word for business in 2019 is trust.

You’ve built multiple businesses, and lived in many places — what’s your story?

I’m originally from Israel, and shortly after finishing my mandatory military service, I went to university. After graduating as an engineer, I moved to Europe to build computer systems. After a few more years, I got more into the business side of these systems, leading the sales and digital strategy for a global company across three continents. When I decided to leave the corporate world, I moved to New York City to start my entrepreneurial journey with my innovation and management consulting company, UNFOLD.

I’ve lived in ten countries to date; primarily in Europe, the US, and now Canada. Moving places is not always easy, but as I’ve learned to embrace change, I’ve learned to get excited about it, too. Experiencing so many different cultures and places has taught me to see things from different perspectives, and not get too attached to a specific paradigm. And today, where the only constant is change, this way of being is more important than ever. Seeing firsthand how valuable this skill has been in my own life is what drives me to help others embrace change.

What’s grabbing your attention in the world?

What I find interesting is the convergence of different disciplines. Whether that’s combining science, technology, and art, or exponential technologies such as 3D, AI, and robotics. The convergence of things that are distinct create new systems and experiences. That’s exciting to me. And it’s why I think the future belongs to polymaths, because they’re able to make connections that otherwise ignored, and it leads to a unique new perspective.

What particularly memorable speaking engagements have you had while on the road?

One of the most memorable speaking experiences was in Sao Paulo last year. I spoke in front of 10,000 business owners at Mercado Livre’s annual digital summit event. (Mercado Livre is the Amazon of Latin America, operating in 18 countries.) Typically, my keynotes addressed a legacy enterprise audience. This keynote was an exciting opportunity to bring my message to business owners of small and medium-sized enterprises, helping them to capture a larger market share. As an entrepreneur, this really speaks to my heart.

What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?
  • CEOs, CFOs, Chairmen, and Board Members who are looking for new insights and perspectives on how to disrupt their business, create new growth, and scale in a fast-changing, digital world.
  • Chief Digital Officers and their teams who are looking for best practice in digital transformation, how to implement digital business models, and manage internal change.
  • Business leaders who want to find new ways to dramatically boost value for customers and all stakeholders across multiple industries (banking, insurance, tourism, pharma, industrial distributors, etc.).
  • Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Operations, IT, and HR leaders and their teams who are tasked with driving or supporting innovation and growth.
  • Intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs who want to understand cutting-edge, best practices in building a digital business model strategy and how to implement it.
  • Investors who are looking for new ways to assess and value companies and new market opportunities.

A sought-after keynote speaker, Lital Marom focuses on innovation, digital disruption, new economies of scale, growth strategies, leadership in the 21st century and the future of work. She has spoken at TEDx Amsterdam, Mobile World Congress Asia, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Canadian Internet Marketing Conference, iHollywood, and many industry conferences around the world.

Interested in learning more about Lital and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].

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