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Happy 4th Birthday Digital Tonto!

2013 August 11
by Greg Satell

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been four years since I started Digital Tonto.  To be honest, I never really thought it would amount to much or that I’d  continue to do it for so long, but here we are!

It really is amazing what you can accomplish with a keyboard and a bottle of scotch.  Since its inception, Digital Tonto has attracted nearly a half million unique visitors.  Some of you have become valued friends, while others simply come here to read.

In either case, I am grateful for your participation.  It is the readers who have transformed Digital Tonto from just a blog to a true community.  Your comments here, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and other places have really contributed to the discussion and enriched me than you know.  As in past years, I’d like to share some of my favorite posts.

Rethinking Marketing Strategy For The Digital Age

Marketing in the digital age is a significant challenge.  Where it used to be that it was enough to grab people’s attention, now you have to hold their attention and encourage them to participate.  That’s a real paradigm shift.

For several years, I’ve been working to come up with a practical framework for thinking about marketing strategy in the digital age and I’m pretty happy with the end result.  Take a look for yourself and tell me what you think.

Read here


What is Big Data (and what do we do with it?)

Big data is like Moneyball for geeks.  While it is clear that big data will play a major role in how we manage our enterprises, it’s hard to separate the hype from the true value.  This post offers a practical guide to big data, why it’s important and what we need to do.

Read here


How To Manage Innovation

While everybody agrees that it is absolutely crucial for organizations to innovate in order to compete, most of the talk about innovation is limited to emotional appeals and platitudes.

Here I give clear principles for managing innovation and a framework that helps you adapt solutions to the type of problem you need to solve.  If you need to manage innovation, this is a post you should really check out.

Read here


Why 140 Characters Are Better Than A Flying Car

There is a great debate going on about whether digital technology is actually getting us anywhere, with some complaining that “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”

Here, I argue that this criticism belies a misunderstanding of the function and purpose of technology. Our goal for the future should not be to merely improve upon the past, but to move beyond it.

Read here


The Future of Innovation Is Simulation

Thomas Edison said that ““If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

Impressive, but that sure seem like a lot of work.  Fortunately, a new breed of innovators is learning how to outsource failure to the virtual world in order to succeed in the real one. This is a majorly important trend you shouldn’t miss.

Read here


The Economics of Happiness

While we would all like to have more money, economics is really about well being, not simple monetary value.  Excessive focus on GDP can be misleading.  For instance, if you wash your clothes in a machine, the activity is counted as part of the economy, but if you hang it on a clothesline, it disappears.  In truth, what we really want is clean clothes.

This is becoming an increasingly important issue as research shows that, beyond a certain level, more money doesn’t really make us any better off.  There are now a number of efforts underway to develop a “Gross National Happiness” indicator to drive public policy and even a smartphone app that helps you monitor and improve your level of happiness.

Read here


4 Things You Need To Know To Make Any Business Successful

The simple truth is that most businesses fail.  It is not for lack of hard work or even intelligence, but the failure to develop a clear model for creating, delivering and capturing value.  Moreover, whatever your business model, it won’t last, so it’s important to recognize that you must continue to adapt it.

This post gives a clear and simple guide for anyone who needs to make a business successful.

Read here


Why Our Numbers Are Always Wrong

If you want to move an idea through an organization these days, it’s absolutely essential to have the numbers on your side.  Unfortunately, these numbers often don’t reflect reality. They are, in fact, small backward looking samples that are scaled up to reflect the real world.

In other words, our numbers are always wrong.  Sometimes they are off by just a little and sometimes by a lot, but they are always wrong.  In this post, I present an alternative method, known as Bayes’ Rule, which can help us overcome the problems with our data.

Read here


Bayesian Strategy

As a follow up to the post above, I show how we can apply Bayes’ insights to drive strategy in a world where failing “fast and cheap” is becoming too slow and too expensive.  It should be clear by now that the new breed of businesses, such as Google and Facebook, operate much differently than successful companies did a generation ago.

The key shift is that managers need to move from trying to be right to becoming less wrong over time.

Read here

Creative Intelligence

We tend to think of creativity as something solely in the human domain.  However, a number of new technology platforms have begun to challenge that comfortable little notion.

From the evaluation of art, music and film to the creation of works which win the approval of professional critics, machines are beginning to enter the creative realm.  Like most people, I find this both exciting and disturbing at the same time.

One thing is clear, the fact that machine intelligence has begun to enter even this most human of realms demands that we rethink what creativity means and humans role in it.

Read here


How Machines Are Learning To Take Over

As somewhat of a follow up to the post above, I wrote this one about how the new generation of algorithms learn in much the same way people do, but exponentially faster. This is a crucial issue for anyone who wants to understand where technology is going.

Whereas before, our machines were fairly static – we built them and they basically stayed the same until they wore down and needed to be replaced- the new generation of technologies actually gets better as we use it.  The upshot is that we can expect our machines to advance at an almost unimaginable pace.

Read here


The Dark Side Of Technology

While the benefits of technology are undeniable, we should also be aware of the dangers. This post gives a cogent overview of what we need to worry about and why, although we need to be concerned, there is little reason for outright alarm.

Read here


Forget About Influence And Change Management, It’s Time To Lead A Revolution!

While we like to think that ideas change the world, in truth it’s people that do.  This post uses insights from network science to show how traditional notions like “influentials” and “change management” fail in the real world.  I also present an alternative, more effective approach.

It is not the nodes, but the network that makes great things possible.

Read here


The Mathematics of “Anything Can Happen”

This is one of my favorite posts.  While we do our best to create order in our lives, in essence, unpredictability is something we just have to learn to live with.  While that might be frustrating, it’s actually what makes life fun.

Read more


The 7 Greatest Idea In History

If you read this blog, you obviously care about ideas.  Here are 7 that I consider to be the most important.

Read here


So that’s my list for this year.  Thanks again to all for your amazing support.  I’m looking forward to year 5!

– Greg

22 Responses leave one →
  1. August 11, 2013

    Happy Birthday Digital Tonto! God bless your dad Greg 🙂
    Thank you for participation in my transformation.

  2. August 11, 2013

    Spasiba Irka! Ochin Priyatna!

    – Grisha:-)

  3. August 11, 2013

    Happy 4th birthday Digital Tonto! A great blog with posts of powerful content that are always worth a read. Thanks for inspiring, enlightening and informing.

  4. August 11, 2013

    Thanks Tara! I hope you’re staying out of the heat in Dubai!

    – Greg

  5. Kuldip Singh permalink
    August 11, 2013

    Happy 4th Birthday, Digital Tonto. We do live in very interesting times. Made all the more interesting by your powerful insights!

  6. August 11, 2013


    I just discovered your blog a few months ago and it quickly became a favorite. I really enjoy your straightforward, informative writing style and I’ve gone back and read almost every post. You’ve helped me learn A LOT and I wish you continued success.

    – Dennis

  7. Alejandro Segura permalink
    August 11, 2013

    Happy birthday Digital Tonto! Thank you Greg for all the very interesting posts in your
    blog. As others comment, very powerful and insightful content. Thanks and keep up the good job. I am one more of your loyal readers in Mexico.

  8. August 11, 2013

    Congratulations Greg and thanks for writing these posts! 🙂

  9. August 11, 2013

    Thank you Dennis. That’s really great to hear!

    – Greg

  10. August 11, 2013

    Thanks Kuldip.

    – Greg

  11. August 11, 2013

    Gracias Alejandro!

    – Greg

  12. August 11, 2013

    Thanks Sergio!

    – Greg

  13. August 11, 2013

    Very Happy 4th Birthday Digital Tonto! Congratulations Greg on four years of sharing terrific insights and wisdom to your community. We all appreciate you very much. Here’s to many, many more. Cheers!

  14. August 11, 2013

    Thanks Sue. Let me know how things are going at Posh Ports and

    – Greg

  15. Olga Shchur permalink
    August 12, 2013

    Happy birthday, Digital Tonto! We love you! Keep growing and make us all smarter with your insights.

  16. Maria Abdullina permalink
    August 12, 2013

    Congratulations to you, Greg, and your blog Digital Tonto! Thank you for always actual materials and visions, interesting thoughts to read, observe, study. Wish you inspiration and strength to continue all this)!

  17. August 12, 2013

    Thanks Olga!

    – Grisha

  18. August 12, 2013

    Thx Masha! Say hello to everyone for me!

    – Greg

  19. August 12, 2013

    I’ve been looking forward to reading your thoughts for I think about 2+ years and sharing them. Thank for your cogent well considered thoughts.

  20. August 12, 2013

    Thanks Mark! I’ve appreciated your comments and input.

    – Greg

  21. Neno permalink
    August 13, 2013

    congrats, Greg!

    opening new horizons and providing knowledge to hungry brains is a one of the most remarkable things a man can do.

    keep pushing!

  22. August 13, 2013

    Thanks Neno!

    – Greg

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