Improvising Careers - NYU/Stern - Nov 2013


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My presentation on how to successfully navigate the global borderless workplace using antenna, mesh and voice.

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  • My name is Christopher Bishop. I am a currently working as a consultant at a firm called Future Workplace. I am delighted to be here. Let me give you a sense of what I am going to speak about this morning…
  • Why me? Multiple careers over 35 years
    Share a perspective on where we are in the arc of history
    Talk about my secret formula to help you be successful in the global borderless workplace
  • Kind of the poster child for 21st century work model
    Graduated with a BA in German literature-minored in music – translated five short stories into English by eccentric post WW II German authors
    Took 16th century poetry, dance classes, jazz, played in two symphonies, did gigs with my rock band at ski resorts
  • Let's talk about McKendree Spring…
  • 6 months after graduating, I got a gig with McKendree Spring. 6 months after that I was touring England and Germany. Toured all over the US and many gigs in Canada. Recorded three albums – one at the Manor, Oxford England, Electric Ladyland- (Hendrix’s studio on 8th St in New York) and Bearsville in Woodstock, where the Band, Bob Dylan and Todd Rundgren among other made records…when the band broke up I moved to New York City REINVENTION
  • Became a freelance musician in New York…
  • Moved to NYC in 1976 and worked as a freelance musician –played in dozens if not hundreds of bands over 16 years – Robert Palmer, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Skunk Baxter
    styles ranging from country to rock to punk to R&B to jazz to subbing on Broadway in the pit for CATS
    PICTURES – clockwise from top left: with Peter O'Toole on the set of a TV movie called *Svengali*, on a rooftop on Chambers St. in NYC in 1981 with Baird Hersey (class of 73) pop-rock band, with the Robert Palmer band outside the Copenhagen airport (summer 1981), cover of the live album I did in London with Robert Palmer - 1980
  • Then…the jingle business…
  • Got tired of being on the road – asked friends: "what do you do to sleep in your own bed at night?" Jingles!
    Wrote music for radio and TV commercials using a Synclavier – state of the art (at the time) digital musical instrument – sang and played bass on the first Kit Kat jingle Gimme A Break MOVE TO COMPUTERS - REINVENTION
  • Leaping over the digital divide to become a web producer…
    Worked at several seminal interactive agencies in New York – CKS Partners, Eagle River Interactive, i3 Media – made the transition by learning, reading, talking to people
    Met a woman on the train who worked at IBM (network) – invited me to interview at IBM.
    Much to my surprise, IBM hired me in 1998 to be an account manager in their Corporate Internet Programs division!
  • Over the course 15 years at IBM I had many different jobs…
    Hired as an Account Manager in Corporate Internet Programs in 1998, have worked in Web production, business strategy development, and communications
    Social media, virtual worlds, use of collaboration tools
  • Over the past 15 years at IBM I have had many different jobs…Web account manager, strategy consultant, communications specialist, social media lead, virtual worlds event producer
  • REINVENTION – move to HR consulting – in August 2013 I started working as a consultant at Future Workplace, advising HR execs on how to address the challenges and opportunities represented by the changing workplace paradigm
  • When I graduated in 1972, there were no: no personal computers, no World Wide Web, no cell phones, no Facebook, no GPS, no DVDs’ also - no hybrid cars, no blogging, no texting, no Leet Speak, no cloning, no mapping the human genome, no space shuttle, no microloans, no wireless power, no black president,
  • Every 40 – 60 years over the past three centuries, society has witnessed a great surge of business innovation sparked by technological advances which usher in a revolutionary new era. Each follows a predictable pattern of two distinct periods of 20-30 years. There have been five such surges in modern history according to Carlota Perez, who teaches at Cambridge University, wrote a very important book called "Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital," about how the world economy has developed.
    She found a consistent pattern in how these phases emerge, I’m going to spend a little time on this historical approach, to give you a sense of the basic logic, because the same pattern plays out time and again. We see this pattern around every major new technology. Something new emerges, and all of a sudden we need to go back and deal with some of the societal infrastructural issues. Then the technology can take off. In the late 1840s, investors poured money into new railways with little regard for where they were routed, how well they were designed or how many rail lines the market really needed. And there was no thought given to standards, so when two lines approached each other, they'd find their tracks didn't line up.
    - To some, this period is a much more boring affair. All the quick bucks have been made. The emphasis is no longer on raw technology but on how to apply and capitalize on it.
    Period of invention generates wholly new products, markets and industries and a new infrastructure to support its growth.
    Speculative capital inevitably leads to a bubble, an economic meltdown and a correction.
    Market adjusts, resulting in extended period of "deployment“
    The same pattern occurred with steam railways in 1829; with steel, electricity, and heavy engineering in 1875; with oil, autos, and mass production in 1908; and right up to the present era, which she calls information and telecommunications, starting in 1971. that we're just starting the deployment phase of the information and telecommunications era, which will take perhaps 25 to 45 years to get really baked into our society.
  • Data is everywhere and easy to find
  • They don't teach that in B school — at least not yet. In fact, Rob Carter, chief information officer at FedEx, thinks the best training for anyone who wants to succeed in 10 years is the online game World of Warcraft. Carter says WoW, as its 10 million devotees worldwide call it, offers a peek into the workplace of the future. Each team faces a fast-paced, complicated series of obstacles called quests, and each player, via his online avatar, must contribute to resolving them or else lose his place on the team. The player who contributes most gets to lead the team — until someone else contributes more. The game, which many Gen Yers learned as teens, is intensely collaborative, constantly demanding and often surprising. "It takes exactly the same skill set people will need more of in the future to collaborate on work projects," says Carter. "The kids are already doing it."Read more:,28804,1898024_1898023_1898086,00.html #ixzz1aCFsj5SM
  • By 2019, Generation X — that relatively small cohort born from 1965 to 1978 — will have spent nearly two decades bumping up against a gray ceiling of boomers in senior decision-making jobs. But that will end. Janet Reid, managing partner at Global Lead, a consulting firm that advises companies like PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble, says, "In 2019, Gen X will finally be in charge. And they will make some big changes."Read more:,28804,1898024_1898023_1898086,00.html #ixzz1aCF2d0sy
    "Paying your dues, moving up slowly and getting the corner office — that's going away. In 10 years, it will be gone," says Bruce Tulgan, head of the consulting firm Rainmaker Thinking, based in New Haven, Conn., and author of a new book about managing Gen Y called Not Everyone Gets a Trophy.Read more:,28804,1898024_1898023_1898086,00.html #ixzz1aCFDrkIJ
  • Globally interconnected - Data from embedded devices
    Driving new and evolving business models
    This rate of new job growth is growing exponentially
  • This quote is attributed to Richard Riley, Secretary of Education in the Clinton administration
  • To be successful, I have used the same skills across all of my careers…
  • DaVinci – multi-armed robotic surgery tool
    Circuits on contact lenses
    Drugs delivered by nanomachines
  • Urban foldable electric cars
    Privatized space program – delivering cargo to the ISS, space tourism, lunar tours
  • Remote controlled robotic teachers
    Holographic and virtual reality learning content
    Artificial intelligence devices, DeepQA like IBM’s Watson
  • After 3d TV?
    Voting on your iPhone
    Capturing energy from wave motion
    Walking through 3D renderings of financial data
  • Once you are on the netwrok – you can work from anywhere. Tehcnology is making geography history – paraphrasing Cory Ondreka
  • Companies are using social media to attract, recruit and retain employees
  • Siemens used a campaign on Tumblr to identify potential managers
  • Companies are allowing potential employees to apply for jobs on their smart phone using LinkedIn
  • The companies no longer control the message – paid, owned and earned is the new model of communication. allows employees to rank and rate the company they work for and publish the results in a public forum.
  • So this brings us right to the question of how are you going to be successful in this new borderless, global workplace paradigm?
    Through my secret formula ingredients – antenna, voice and mesh
  • Be aware of trending ideally in all fields not just the one you are interested in
    It all connects in various ways, to varying degrees, but it all does
    Chase the maelstrom, find the chaos, seek out the mayhem
  • Formerly the domain of movie stars, athletes and the occasional politician – but now it is everybody's business
    a *voice* (brand) is a promise, a perspective, a uniqueness that differentiates you from the rest of the pack
    Facebook, LinkedIn - write, compose, paint, draw, post!
    You are what you do and think and write
    Just as companies have a voice that is their brand you have a voice thatis your brand
    Need to always be thinking of it
  • Analyze your voice and think about how you would create a TV or print ad for your skills and unique value prop
  • I broke into the jingle business – 3x5 cards in a box written in pencil
    Critically important in a global integrated economy
    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Plaxo, Xing,
    ACT, Google docs, other contact mgmt tools
    Note cards, yellow pads, whatever works
    Don’t get hung up on the tools – they will change. Learn and master the process.
  • Who is in your network and why?
    Constantly build it
  • Improvising Careers - NYU/Stern - Nov 2013

    1. 1. Christopher Bishop Strategic Partner Future Workplace NYU Stern November 21, 2013 improvising careers: the 21st century work paradigm 1
    2. 2. Agenda • Why me? • Socio-cultural perspective • Secret formula 2
    3. 3. AGE YEAR 1970 1980 20091990 2000 Graduated from Bennington McKendree Spring Jingle producer Web producer Business Strategist Comms Specialist 20 30 40 50 60 Consultant 70 ? 3 NYC session musician
    4. 4. AGE YEAR 1970 1980 20091990 2000 Graduated from Bennington McKendree Spring Jingle producer Web producer Business Strategist Comms Specialist 20 30 40 50 60 Consultant 70 ? 4 NYC session musician
    5. 5. 5
    6. 6. AGE YEAR 1970 1980 20091990 2000 Graduated from Bennington McKendree Spring NYC session musician Jingle producer Web producer Business Strategist Comms Specialist 20 30 40 50 60 Academia 70 ? 6
    7. 7. 7
    8. 8. AGE YEAR 1970 1980 20091990 2000 Graduated from Bennington McKendree Spring Jingle producer Web producer Business Strategist Comms Specialist 20 30 40 50 60 Consultant 70 ? 8 NYC session musician
    9. 9. 9
    10. 10. AGE YEAR 1970 1980 20091990 2000 Graduated from Bennington McKendree Spring Jingle producer Web producer Business Strategist Comms Specialist 20 30 40 50 60 Consultant 70 ? 10 NYC session musician
    11. 11. 11
    12. 12. AGE YEAR 1970 1980 20091990 2000 Graduated from Bennington McKendree Spring Jingle producer Web producer Business Strategist Comms Specialist 20 30 40 50 60 Consultant 70 ? 12 NYC session musician
    13. 13. 13
    14. 14. AGE YEAR 1970 1980 20091990 2000 Graduated from Bennington McKendree Spring Jingle producer Web producer Business Strategist Comms Specialist 20 30 40 50 60 Consultant 70 ? 14 NYC session musician
    15. 15. 15
    16. 16. 16
    17. 17. 17 Five historical cycles … Invention Innovation The Industrial Revolution Age of Steam and Railways Age of Steel, Electricity Heavy Engineering Age of Oil, Automobiles and Mass Production Age of Information and Telecommunications Frenzy Synergy Deployment Maturity Panic 1797 Depression 1893 Crash 1929 Collapse 2000 • Formation of Mfg. industry • Repeal of Corn Laws opening trade • Joint stock companies • Industry exploits economies of scale Current period of Adoption • Separation of savings, investment banks • FDIC, SEC • Build-out of Interstate highways • IMF, World Bank, BIS 1 2 3 4 5 Source: “Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital”, Carlota Perez, 2002 Panic 1847 1771 1829 1875 1908 1971 1873 1920 1974 1829 Crash
    18. 18. Increasing technology advancements foster decentralization 18
    19. 19. Increasing decentralization makes motivation, creativity and flexibility more important than ever 19
    20. 20. Workers are not being rewarded for carrying out orders, but for figuring out what needs to be done…who needs to be on the team, doing it…and then doing it again 20
    21. 21. U.S. Department of Labor predicts that todays’ learners will have ?? jobs… 21
    22. 22. U.S. Department of Labor predicts that todays’ learners will have 10-14 jobs…and by age 38! 22
    23. 23. •Social network manager •Mobile and cloud software engineers •Sustainable energy technician •3D printer operator •iPad app developer Many of today's top in-demand jobs did not exist a few years ago! 23
    24. 24. Estimates are 85% of the jobs you will be doing haven’t been invented yet…24
    25. 25. You’ll be using technology that doesn’t exist … 25
    26. 26. To solve problems we don’t yet know are problems. 26
    27. 27. •Creative problem-solving •Comfortable with ambiguity •Passionate •Self-directed •Resilient •Able to learn, unlearn, relearn •Work across disciplines •Global perspective To be successful… 27
    28. 28. Changes driven by technology… will create new careers in every discipline! 28
    29. 29. Medicine… 29
    30. 30. Transportation… 30
    31. 31. Education… 31
    32. 32. Entertainment… 32 Government… Energy… Finance…
    33. 33. Global community = global workforce 33
    34. 34. Social recruiting 34
    35. 35. Siemens: Tumblr for global recruitment campaign • Campaign uses Tumblr to identify the "brightest minds" in regions around the world while driving interest in the company • Positions working at the company as a "cutting-edge career opportunity for the managers of tomorrow"35
    36. 36. • Specialty retailer of children’s merchandise in North America • Enables job seekers to apply using LinkedIn app their mobile phones 36
    37. 37. 37
    38. 38. Secret Formula 1) Antenna • what you want to do • what is happening in the world 2) Voice - defining and assessing your own brand 3) Mesh - finding people with similar interests 38
    39. 39. 1) Antenna • Monitor the world • Focus on your own skills, needs • Map the two against each other • Trust your instincts • Chase the maelstrom • Follow your bliss 39
    40. 40. 1) Antenna - activity External •Elite newspapers • WSJ, NY Times, Financial Times •MIT Tech Review •BBC World Service •Futurist authors •Wired •Huff Post 40 Internal •Self assessment – likes, dislikes, talents, challenges •Trending – how has this changed •Ask friends, family, professors
    41. 41. 2) Voice •Essence of who you are •What makes you unique •Everything you say & do •Establishes your expertise 41
    42. 42. 2) Voice - activity 42 • Write down your 5 most valuable characteristics - ad for “you” • How would you then market yourself - what makes you unique? • Remember that your voice is represented by everything you do
    43. 43. •It’s not what you know, it’s who you know •Lifelong job •Strangers with expertise •Share your perspective •Use the tools! 3) Mesh 43
    44. 44. 3) Mesh - activity • First dissect your network: who do you know based on what? • Find people who can help you directly and can also connect you with others: “Getting the job is the job” • Send intro emails, make calls, ask someone to introduce you • Use the tools: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube • Find groups discussing topics you like and join in • Try to add at least 2-3 people a week to your network 44
    45. 45. What’s next? • Go forth • Have fun • Change the world • Keep me posted 45
    46. 46. THANKS! 46