Children in the 1960’s were constantly exposed to the exciting things technology was going to bring to us in the future. And they were told that the robots were coming and that was okay because they would help us and be our friends like Will Robinson’s protector on “Lost in Space”. Somewhere along the way, the perception of the friendly robot iterated into something more sinister, and rather than occupying the role of guardian, they would somehow take over and replace us, or worse.

When Leonardo da Vinci spoke of his theoretical flying machines, most people found him mad; but to ignore them once they have been built and are airborne full of passengers is a different problem.

The rise of social media and eCommerce and all of its accompanying technology incorporates the digital and physical landscape of tomorrow’s customers. To brush aside the tech would minimise the human. Companies have been forced to rethink the way they interact with customers both potential and existing.  Are we moving into a purely digital age? We don’t think so as the future doesn’t lie exclusively in any of these technological advances; but at the crossroads where they intersect with human endeavour. We call this nexus of people and machines “tribenology”.

Tribenology is where the magic happens and the point from which direct selling will move forward, grow and evolve.

Direct Selling embraced the doorbell as a way of entering into a new retail paradigm; why would social media or ecommerce present themselves as anything but an opportunity for the channel. Imagine ringing 1000 doorbells at the same time? You don’t have to – it’s already happening. Sometimes, the tail can wag the dog and we move away from the magic where people and tech converge and this can create problems. From a company perspective, these short-lived tech fads can harm more than they promote and sometimes sour a company’s appetite to embrace technological advances.   But let our customers, our people, guide us – what are they up to?

The telephone introduced in 1878 took nearly 100 years before it reached a saturation point (80%) in US households. The tablet computer reached 50% in five years. Obviously, technology isn’t the only thing speeding up – customers are. Humans are, and have always been, incredibly adaptable and the fact that technological change has moved permanently into the fast lane has made us all better drivers, so to speak.

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted in 1965 that transistors on a computer chip would double every two years, his prediction held so much so that it is now called “Moore’s Law”. You might scoff and say, “of course, as an innovator and producer of chips Intel can control it.” And maybe, you’re right but for over 50 years this prediction has driven technological and economic growth affecting every aspect of society including direct selling. Sceptical, why don’t you look it up on your smart phone.  Better yet, just look at your smart phone.  These ubiquitous little marvels have changed business and created a way to put your office in your hand. On their own, they are impressive but once they are in our hands anything is possible. That’s tribenology at work.

Smart phones, though not technically robots, are just one of the many devices among us these days incorporating artificial intelligence, and only the parent of a teenager would argue that they are taking over. Smart phones serve us and make our lives easier – we need them (now) and they need us.

Well, the promised technological age came and has forever changed how we live, work and relax and we’re still here (but without the promised jet packs).  Few futurists in the early 1960’s could have predicted what 2021 would look like but the confluence of people and technology has always pushed humanity forward. As human beings we adopt early and other times we are the last to the party; but we know that harnessing the tools of the day with the all that is good about us makes business easier and the world better

If we remember that it is not the tool but how WE use it that makes all the difference we can maximise all the benefits. Tribenology is the best of both worlds.

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