Its 1994, and Surrosh Alvi, co-founder of VICE magazine, is 3 months out of rehab, living on the streets of Montreal, and is focused on one thing; developing a magazine made of real content that connects to its readers. 22 years later the head of the $50 million Vice media empire is on stage at C2 MTL describing to a captivated audience how Vice has always been driven by the search for authenticity, and that hasn’t changed. Encourage the storyteller to tell their story. Don’t report on the sex trade, have a prostitute write their story. Have no objectivity. And above all, try to stay weird. He could never have comprehended what avant-garde thinking that was given how through social media, we are all tellers of our own story today. That is the core of C2 MTL Day 2; is all about you, and the power you have to create, disrupt, and define your own world.
Hypertelling is the term Mike Yapp of Google Zoo coined to describe the new era of story telling. Virtual reality, Augmented reality, 360 environments, are the new technology tools that are transforming writers and designers into inventors of new realities. The future of content is virtual and it stories are non-linear. By using artificial intelligence, virtual reality environments will be perfectly customized to meet your individual tastes and needs. Your experience is being created by you for you instantaneously making you the unconscious writer and director of the story you are experiencing. Imagine all the personal information Google currently uses to make tailored suggestions of songs you should download, news you should read and fair trade organic biodegradable gluten free underwear you should buy, now used to create your own virtual reality experience. Today’s solitary VR will be soon be replaced with social VR, allowing others to join in your story, as easily as Periscope allows you to share video today. This all begs the question, if our future experiences are based on our past choices, where do the new discoveries that shaped us prior to this technology come from? Are we destined to merely keep experiencing new versions of the same concept? How do we grow as people?
Airbnb began 8 years ago when two friends decided to subsidize their rent by charging people to sleep on inflatable mattresses on their floor; hence the Air in the name. They have gone on to become one the most disruptive forces in the new sharing economy. While their 90 million users and 2.2 million rooms for rent would warm the heart of any investor, the most impressive number is how an uncontrollable customer experience ranks higher in customer satisfaction than most luxury hotels. Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, explains this is the result of users directly rating other users. This is what happens when a company allows its users to collaborate. User review content intrinsically manages quality control and is at the core of how they can compete against giants. This is made even easier when your competition are companies like the Intercontinental Hotels who thinks user collaboration is when a Hong Kong millionaire emails the CCO to let her know the Nasi Gorang in their NYC hotel is the best he has ever eaten. Can there be a more perfect example of how easy it is to disrupt a market when the leaders are asleep at the wheel?
Dr Mohammed Yunus closed the night out. The Nobel Laureate is the father of micro finance loans. These are small start-up low interest loans of a few hundred dollars for those in the developing world who have no access to traditional banks. He has disrupted the world of banking and changed the lives of millions of people around the world. This all began with the simple act of deciding to loan impoverished people money in his home town of Chittagong Bangladesh so they would not need to use loan sharks. When he needed more money and banks refused to help, he decided to start his own. It is a bank based on the concept of helping people earn wealth, not helping yourself to people’s wealth. Of the 8.7 million loans granted to date, 97% percent are to woman with a repayment rate of 99.5%.
Yunus believes that we are all intrinsically entrepreneurs. We should stop looking for jobs and start focusing our energy on creating jobs for ourselves that help others. He believes if we stay focused on textbook knowledge of how to succeed we will only keep repeating the mistakes of the past. We should throw out the textbook and start making your own life with your own rules. That is how he accomplished all he has, and he believes the same is possible for everyone. He ended by sharing that his life’s goal is the pursuit of 3 zeros. Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Carbon Emission. I believe he requires one more zero to make it happen, Zero people doubting its possibility. If we look at what just one man has accomplished, is it so preposterous to believe we can accomplish his goal if we start creating our own world instead of following the rules of one that doesn’t work?