Brian Solis on Generation N, Scaling Your Life and New Leadership

Brian Solis on Generation N and Scaling Your Life

Besides being a bestselling author, Brian Solis may be the authority on marketing and social media. The American “digital anthropologist” keeps a constant eye on the social shifts coming our way. In the latest episode of Techmag, he takes a look at the trends shaping the digital landscape, and how companies can prepare for the new normal.

Business as (un)usual in America

By day Brian Solis is Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. I catch him in the middle of a crazy time, to put it lightly. The corona crisis isn’t the only reason he’s staying home right now: as we speak, riots in reaction to the death of George Floyd are exploding all over the United States, including in his home base of San Francisco.

“I was writing an article yesterday, but I couldn’t focus,” said Solis with a deep sigh. “We had the tremendous launch of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon Crew which was incredible to watch, and at the same time the riots and protests spilling out into the streets all over this country. Add to that the impact of the virus that’s still everywhere, and an incredible intentional polarization and divisiveness from the top which is scary and unnecessary.”

Freedom from distraction

Solis isn’t the only one who is feeling distracted these days. Social media, games and the constant pull of our smartphones are influencing our lives more than ever. That’s why Solis wrote the book “Life Scale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life” on how he fixed his life around digital distractions.

“Our attention span is a hot commodity and we don’t value it,” he said. “Polarizing content and the Like button keep us hooked and impact our creativity and our happiness. The solution is not using technology less. Essentially I turn persuasive design around and use it in a positive way to improve lives.”

N is for Novel

Solis calls the new normal the “novel economy”, explaining: “This economic environment is new and unusual. There is no playbook.” Solis describes the novel economy in three phases: we’re now in the first phase, “survive,” and over the next two years will reach the third phase, “ thrive,” which has the potential for great innovation. “Decision makers are going to realize that they’re not going to go back to normal, this is actually an opportunity to start going in a new direction that’s better for everyone,” he said.

Solis picked up on this theme already a few years ago, remarking in one of his speeches that technology and society are evolving faster than our capacity to adapt. The next ten years are either happening to us, or happening to others through us, he said at the time. Now it seems like both could be true.

“I once talked about Generation C, the connected consumer. Now there is Generation N,” said Solis. “The corona crisis has given us a common marker that binds us all together. We have all started to change. You can look at this as a global society of unique behaviors that we need to pay attention to because they are going to inform how we will go through the different phases of the novel economy.”

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