Great interview with Brian Solis, author of Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life (Wiley, April 2019). What is your background briefly? I’ve been part of Silicon Valley since 1996 and I’ve played a number of roles. I helped pioneer what became the foundation for digital media, social media and digital influence.
Great interview with Brian Solis, author of Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life (Wiley, April 2019).
What is your background briefly?
I’ve been part of Silicon Valley since 1996 and I’ve played a number of roles. I helped pioneer what became the foundation for digital media, social media and digital influence. I helped develop and expand the term digital anthropologist/digital analyst and for many years I’ve studied the impact of disruptive technology on society and behaviors. I’ve also advised and helped to launch over 1,000 startups, advising many start-ups as well as the founders of well-known firms that are under fire today.
I’m also a writer. I’ve written eight books, including X: The Experience When Business Meets Design and WTF?: What’s the Future of Business?: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences. The first seven focused on my area of expertise, the intersection of tech and business. However, my latest book, Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life is a departure. It evolved out of my own issues with technology, multitasking and distraction. Basically a few years ago I found myself distracted by the tech that I was studying and realized I need to figure it out for myself. In the process, I put my original project aside and, instead, spent a year developing Lifescale.
Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?
Yes, definitely. What I do today has evolved and expanded from the work I was doing 20 years ago.
Can you give a 1 minute pitch for what you do now?
I’m the principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter Group, but I’m still a digital anthropologist as well. Years ago I popularized the term “Digital Darwinism.” I’m constantly looking at how technology and society are evolving and how companies are responding to technology.
Right now, I’m basically dedicating half of my time to the premise of Lifescale. Obviously I’ve been promoting the book, but I’ve also been developing a movement to help parents, students, teachers, employers and their teams better understand the impact of technology on their lives, to do a better job of managing tech and taking control of their time. We’re actively developing a coaching and training program to share the practices developed in Lifescale and the curriculum we’ve developed will be offered in college courses around the world. We’ve already been added to curriculum in Australia.
This book is a timely topic, how long did it take you to realise that you had become a victim of your own social media success & was it a slightly painful process to re-evaluate your relationship to your own digital footprint?
I only recognized something was wrong because I couldn’t finish a book proposal. That gave me the incentive to figure it out. Once I started to reflect and conduct research (which is what I do) I realized it wasn’t a one-time thing. It was a myriad of things that unfolded slowly over the years. My work wasn’t as deep and my relationships were compromised. Once I became aware of what was happening, I had a full awakening. I realized this had been building up for over a decade.
Was it painful? Yes, to an extent it was a painful process to come to terms with what had happened, but if I’d just continued on the same path it would have been worse. Any form of deliberate life change is challenging and can be an uncomfortable experience, but not doing anything would have been more painful.
“Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself.”
I didn’t even realize I was lost because everything that was new was so sudden, it was instantly normal…
Thoughts while in Warsaw, Poland. https://t.co/DBKMiDRtT9
.#SundayThoughts #SundayMotivation #quoteoftheday pic.twitter.com/rOm8XlblML
— Brian Solis (@briansolis) April 28, 2019
We agree with a lot of your observations, for example we have some very screen-addicted teenagers, who get aggressive when their usage patterns are challenged – what tips would you offer to people trying to parent this new generation?
It’s interesting. Whether it’s a teenager or a seven-year-old, and whether they’re on a 10-minute, 25-minute or even two-hour regimen, you’ll get violent anger when you take their device away. One purpose of Lifescale is to help us better understand these design hooks, to understand that the persuasive design techniques used in this technology to hook us is not simply a function of coding. It’s the result of the effects of that code on the human condition!
For example, when you use persuasive design techniques or variable intermittent rewards, you’re releasing chemicals in the body, much like with cigarettes or opioids. When you’re taking an iPad away from someone, especially a child or teenager, or placing boundaries on their use of these devices, you’re dealing with psychology, physiology and chemical makeup, all in one moment. It’s like yanking a cigarette out of the hands of a smoker. It’s important to understand that this is what’s happening. I believe knowledge is power, awareness is awakening.
However, I always emphasize that not all technology is bad. It’s a matter of intentionality and awareness, of using these devices in productive ways.
When you go through the Lifescaling process of giving yourself a clear vision of where you want to go, it becomes easier to make tech a positive enabler.
Your book is a timely summary of important trends in the changing nature of work and our relationship to it. As more mundane tasks become automated could this be a flowering of human creativity?
Certainly that was part of the goal. Having studied the impact of machine learning and having reviewed all kinds of jobs that are and will be affected, all experts agree that creativity and innovation are more important than ever before. The arts, philosophy, and social sciences will be more valuable. Those are the types of things many of us were taught to ‘grow out of.’ We were taught to emphasize other subjects in school. Yet this has never been more important. That’s why creativity is an important topic throughout the book.
What do you plan to explore next in your writings and how did the research for this book help you on this journey?
I don’t want to give away too much. With this Lifescaling journey has come a great awakening and incredible motivation to explore other creative endeavors. It’s really stoked my imagination. I’ll add that Lifescale and Lifescaling is a movement that will continue to evolve and unfold.
How can people find out more about you & your work?
Anything else you’d like to add or that we should have asked?
I’d like to emphasize the design of the book. It’s based on years of research into mobile UX/UI that I experimented with on earlier books. So it’s designed to keep you interested and motivated, to digitally stimulate your subconscious so that you’ll keep reading. I think the design makes it more immersive, motivating and, I hope, inspiring.
About Brian Solis:
With a loyal online audience of more than 700,000 people, Solis’ work has made him a sought-after thought leader to leading brands; celebrities such as Oprah, Shaquille O’Neal and Ashton Kutcher; and more than 1,000 startups around the world. Prior to joining Altimeter, where he is currently studying digital transformation and how businesses are investing in the new digital customer experience, he was the founder and principle of FutureWorks, where he led interactive and social programs for Fortune 500 companies, leading brands and Web 2.0 startups. He is also a world-renowned keynote speaker and an award-winning author of seven best-selling books, including “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design,” “What’s the Future of Business” and “The End of Business as Usual.”
A widely sought after speaker, Brian actively shares his vision and experiences through keynotes and presentations at conferences and events worldwide to help organisations understand and embrace the dynamics defining the rise of digital transformation, innovation, connected consumerism and digital lifestyles.
For more information visit: https://www.briansolis.com/
The official #Lifescale unboxing!
I received my copies and wanted to share with you my first reaction…with also some of the design secrets behind the book! ?
Let me know what you think? ?https://t.co/4R4Vp9x2xV
— Brian Solis (@briansolis) March 7, 2019