Who IS Brian Solis?

Brian Solis

Q: Brian, Welcome to the WebCenter Blog. Can you tell our readers your current role and what career path brought you here?

A: I’m proudly serving as a principal analyst at Altimeter Group, a research based advisory firm in Silicon Valley.

My career path, well, let’s just say it’s a long and winding road. As a kid, I was fascinated with technology. I learned programming at an early age and found myself naturally drawn to all things tech. I started my career as a database programmer at a technology marketing agency in Southern California. When I saw the chance to work with tech companies and help them better market their capabilities to businesses and consumers, I switched focus from programming to marketing and advertising.

As technologist, my approach to marketing was different. I didn’t believe in hype, fluff or buzz words. I believed in translating features into benefits and specifications and capabilities into solutions for real world problems and opportunities. In the mid 90’s I experimented with direct to consumer/customer engagement in dedicated technology forums and boards. I quickly realized that the entire approach to do so would need to change. Therefore, I learned and developed new methods for a more social and informed way of engaging people in ways that helped them, marketed the company, and also tied to tangible benefits for the company. This work would lead me to start an agency in 1999 dedicated to interactive marketing. As I continued to experiment with interactive platforms, I developed interesting methods for converting one-to-many forms of media into one-to-one-to-many programs. I ran that company until joining Altimeter Group.

Along the way, in the early 2000s, I realized that everything was changing and that there were others like me finding success in what would become a more social form of media. I dedicated a significant amount of my time to sharing everything that I learned in the form of articles, blogs, and eventually books. My mission became to share my experience with anyone who’d listen. It would later become much bigger than marketing, this would lead to a decade of work, that still continues, in business transformation.

Then and now, I find myself always assuming the role of a student.

Q: As an industry analyst & technology change evangelist, what are you primarily focused on these days?

A: As a digital analyst, I study how disruptive technology impacts business. As an aspiring social scientist, I study how technology affects human behavior. I explore both horizons professionally and personally to better understand the future of popular culture and also the opportunities that exist for organizations to improve relationships and experiences with customers and the people that are important to them.

Q: People cite that the line between work and life is getting more and more blurred. Do you see your personal life influencing your professional work?

A: The line between work and life isn’t blurred it’s been overtly crossed and erased. We live in an always on society. The digital lifestyle keeps us connected to one another it keeps us connected all the time. Whether your sending or checking email, trying to catch up, or simply trying to get ahead, people are spending the equivalent of an extra day at work in the time they spend out of work…working. That’s absurd. It’s a matter of survival. It’s also a matter of unintended, subconscious self-causation. We brought this on ourselves and continue to do so. Think about your day. You’re in meetings for the better part of each day. You probably spend evenings and weekends catching up on email and actually doing the work you couldn’t get to during the day. And, your co-workers and executives are doing the same thing. So if you try to slow down, you find yourself at a disadvantage as you’re willfully pulling yourself out of an unfortunate culture of whenever wherever business dynamics. If you’re unresponsive or unreachable, someone within your organization or on your team is accessible. Over time, this could contribute to unfavorable impressions.

I choose to steer my life balance in ways that complement one another. But, I don’t pretend to have this figured out by any means. In fact, I find myself swimming upstream like those around me. It’s essentially a competition for relevance and at some point I’ll learn how to earn attention and relevance while redrawing the line between work and life.

Q: How can people keep up with what you’re working on?

A: The easy answer is that people can keep up with me at briansolis.com. But, I also try to reach people where their attention is focused. Whether it’s Facebook (facebook.com/briansolis), Twitter (@briansolis), Google+ (+briansolis), Youtube (briansolis.tv) or through books and conferences, people can usually find me in a place of their choosing.

Q: Recently, you’ve been working with us here at Oracle on something exciting coming up later this week. What’s on the horizon?

A: I spent some time with the Oracle team reviewing the idea of Digital Darwinism and how technology and society are evolving faster than many organizations can adapt.

Digital Darwinism: How Brands Can Survive the Rapid Evolution of Society and Technology
Thursday, December 13, 2012, 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET

Q: You’ve been very actively pursued for media interviews and conference and company speaking engagements – anything you’d like to share to give us a sneak peak of what to expect on Thursday’s webcast?

A: We’re inviting guests to join us online as we dive into the future of business and how the convergence of technology and connected consumerism would ultimately impact how business is done. It’ll be an exciting and revealing conversation that explores just how much everything is changing. We’ll also review the importance of adapting to emergent trends and how to compete for the future. It’s important to recognize that change is not happening to us, it’s happening because of us. We are part of the revolution and therefore we need to help organizations adapt from the inside out.

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