January 16, 2017

Strategists of the world, take a bow

By Pierre Paoli EMEA Digital Strategy Director

Pierre Paoli

Pierre Paoli

EMEA Digital Strategy Director

As with any new starting of the year, lots of people from our beloved “madtech” industry (including this author) are scrambling around to get the best, sharpest, cleverest and most thought provoking predictions for the next 12 months, 5 years, sometimes 10 years from now. 

Well, all of our efforts pales in comparison to what Sir David Bowie predicted all the way back to 1999.

Here is the interview in full: https://youtu.be/FiK7s_0tGsg 

From alter egos and the need and difficulties of self-re-invention (highly on point in a day and age where any of us is trying to re-invent, herself, himself, itself, in the face of unprecedented disruption) to predicting the power of the Internet (“potential of the Internet, both good and bad, is unimaginable, we are on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying”), Bowie, and a slightly baffled Alan Paxman from BBC, take us through a true and, genuinely, enjoyable short history of our time.

Casually, Sir Bowie takes us through some bafflingly important and now contemporary themes such as:

– The creation of your own personal stories (cue Ziggy Stardust), characters after characters and the need to re-assess yourself all the time,

– The need to focus on who you are, being curious and enthusiastic, and how this drives new experiences and subsequent creativity,

– The possibility of finding new solutions from conflicts and from observations,

– The exciting new relationship between artists (brands?) and audiences,

– The rise of the audience and the tribalisation of communities,

– The internet being “an alien life form” (from Mars) and how important it will become,

– Thanks to the Internet, how context and content will revolutionise our idea of the medium,

– The importance to invest in innovation and the legacy we leave to our future generations,

– The need to wear a pair of high heels when meeting a politician….

Only picking on one of the topics closest to me (the Internet), Sir Bowie correctly predicts what this embryonic technology, which was not even barely emerging in 1999, will become. In a baffling and concise way, Ziggy predicts the Internet will be a driver of multiplicity, a most powerful tool of self-expression, a catalyst to incredible fragmentation. “I don’t even think we’ve seen the tip of the Iceberg that is the Internet” will remain what, I believe, encapsulates his visionary take on our now contemporary society. Major Tom, you were right, on everything.

David Bowie shows us here that he was way more than a visionary artist. He was one of the very few oracles that we are critically missing in our industry.

We sometimes say that, in order to better understand where we need to go, it is always a useful starting point to understand where we are coming from. Believe me, these will be 16 minutes of your time well-spent to understand both.