Digital Darwinism … Tom Goodwin explores survival of the fittest in the age of business disruption

May 28, 2018

“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”

Who said that? Tom Goodwin.

Tom is the Executive Vice President and Head of Innovation at Zenith Media USA. He has been voted a top 10 voice in Marketing by LinkedIn, one of 30 people to follow on Twitter by Business Insider, and a “must follow” by Fast Company.

He’s actually a very normal guy. Sat in a bar in Istanbul he quizzed me on the changing world of business. He has a knack of asking questions rather than giving answers. Which is good. He’s curious and interested, and he’s certainly not afraid to challenge, provoke and rethink what matters.

How did he gain his “must follow” status? By being incredibly normal. Look at his posts. They are human, questioning, challenging, observing, reflecting. He comes up with some great one-liners too. Like the one above, which you’ve probably come across.

Tom’s a breath of fresh air to the marketing world. Despite his New York base, and agency background, he’s incredibly down to Earth. Thoughtful and engaging. He’s young, cheeky and doesn’t care about formalities. Maybe there is something of Chipping Norton about him too. Having grown up in the small English Cotswold town, he seems immune to the hype and hysteria of most other digital commentators.

All of which makes his new book, Digital Darwinism, much more compelling.

Digital Darwinism is your wake-up call that incremental change is not enough: adding technology at the edges and wrapping it in “innovation” just won’t work.

 We live in a world where thin interface companies like Uber, Airbnb, Alibaba, Amazon, Spotify, and Facebook have achieved unprecedented growth by exploiting gaps in the market left by large legacy corporations.

Companies like Netflix and Dyson reinvented themselves by tapping into the power of self-disruption and setting out on bold new paths. Upstarts like Tesla and Tencent have challenged conventional thinking in ways that go beyond existing theories of digital transformation. They are doing what has never been possible before, but is it despite—or because of—their lack of experience?

In this provocative book, Tom  explores change in the larger context of society, and how, throughout history, each time a new technology emerged, its power was entirely misunderstood.

He proves that every assumption the business world made about “digital” has been wrong, maps out specific strategies to drive real transformation right now, and outlines ideas and solutions for ambitious companies who want to prepare for the future and unleash what’s next.

In short, Digital Darwinism is a deep dive into what business leaders can do to thrive in the modern age. It lights a fire under complacency and offers a challenging new perspective on not only how to think about change—but how to actually do something about it.

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