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Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World Hardcover – September 15, 2015
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If you’re in the information business (and we all are in the information business), Tercek’s urgent manifesto will help you see the future, so you can prepare for it.”
Seth Godin, author of Unleashing the Ideavirus
Ignore this book at your peril. Vaporized is incredible. I found it right on every point. It tracks the move from atoms to bits in a funny and thought-provoking manner that will be a wake up call to many industries.”
Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, Inc.
Robert Tercek is a technological provocateur. His book provides deep thinking about our digital world and its monumental possibilities in ways that you probably haven't ever considered.”
Jarl Mohn, CEO of National Public Radio
Tercek's vision is singular, unique and unmatched in its insight. Vaporized is the next must-have strategy guide for every executive in media, manufacturing, retail and marketing.”
Gabe Zichermann, CEO of Gamification Co. and author of Gamification Revolution
Vaporized will certainly make you think. If you don’t like change it will terrify you, but if you embrace the future, Robert's book will justify your mission and spur you on to new heights.”
Brett King, Author of Augmented and Founder of Moven
A thoughtful and sharp look at the invisible forces transforming society today and in the near future. Never before in history have we experienced the scope of change being wrought by the networks, software and real-time marketplaces explored in Vaporized.”
Rio Caraeff, Founder & Former CEO of Vevo
A worthy successor to Blown to Bits and Being Digital, Vaporized illustrates a new world order brought about by enabling software and a connected world.”
Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategist of the Publicis Groupe
Robert Tercek is one of the keenest observers of the zeitgeists in media, culture and technology, and Vaporized is where it all comes together. For anyone trying to understand the digital transformation of business, commerce and society, this book is simply indispensable.”
Gerd Leonhard, CEO of The Futures Agency and author of The Future of Media
We’ve seen the headlines: Software is eating the world. Physical things are dematerializing, disappearing before our very eyes. And yet amidst this disruption is exponential opportunity: for reinvention, for transformation, for new possibilities. Robert Tercek’s Vaporized maps for us this new territory."
Jason Silva, host of National Geographic’s Brain Games
In this era of endless innovation, our world of things is being digitally blown to bits and Vaporized. Author Robert Tercek puts the pieces back together so that anyone looking to succeed in the 21st century can better understand the economic forces at work and their impact on everyone’s careers.”
Jay Samit, author of Disrupt You!
Robert Tercek’s vision of the future of digital media provides indispensable strategic insight about the future of media, manufacturing, marketing and retail. Vaporized will be a must-read for the next generation of business and political leaders. ”
Katrina Cukaj, Executive Vice President, Advertising Sales, CNN
Super-fast access to data on mobile devices is vaporizing entire industries. Yours may be next. This book provides essential survival skills for the biggest business transformation our lifetime. ”
Phil Braden, Senior Vice President of Technology and Applications for PCCW
Vaporized is a magnificent guide to the way software defines modern commerce: self-organizing, real-time, mobile markets that are devouring the material world. Tercek masterfully weaves his wide knowledge of both traditional and new businesses, showing us how it is less profitable to actually own things - and insanely profitable to control information about things. ”
Mark Jeffrey, author of Bitcoin Explained Simply
Rob Tercek is one of the people who gets the transition happening in every corner of the economy from old, slow, solid, offline models to high-speed, digital, ephemeral ones. His insights matter to every industry and every business. Read the book. Listen to what he says.”
Ramez Naam, author of Nexus and The Infinite Resource
Robert is the Buckaroo Banzai of digital media. He literally travels to the future and reports back foresights through a blend of provocative humor and actionable insights. He connects the dots like none other, and always energizes people with a creative call to arms for what is possible. Quite simply, Robert brings the thunder.”
Michael Margolis, CEO and founder of Get Storied and StoryU
This is the only book you need to understand how the mobile economy really works. An essential read for 21st century leaders, Vaporized provides an insightful look at how mobile data will transform our whole economy and, quite likely, our society.”
Ned Sherman, founder and CEO of Digital Media Wire
Robert Tercek’s Vaporized theories provide a jolt of what’s possible. Tercek convincingly poses breakthrough concepts that are both disturbing and promising about what will come.”
Rod Perth, President and CEO of National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE)
Too many aha moments’ to list! In the spirit of Megatrends, Vaporized reveals what’s right around the corner. This remarkable peek into the future is much more than a fascinating read. Follow Tercek’s lead to be ahead of the change and the competition. ”
Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times and global bestseller What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
"Robert Tercek takes us on a riveting ride through past tech-enabled disruptions to a profoundly reimagined future that is inspiring yet unnerving. Every corner of humankind will be impacted, and every business leader, thinker, doer or spectator should be deeply concerned by the fresh questions, insights and possibilities raised in this book.”
Paul Zilk, CEO of Reed MIDEM
About the Author
In his 22-year career, Tercek has launched startup ventures and also served in executive leadership roles at major media companies, most recently as President of Digital Media at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, and previously as Senior Vice President of Digital Media at Sony Pictures Entertainment and earlier as Creative Director at MTV: Music Television.
His professional credits include several milestones: the launch of the first multi-channel television satellite in Asia, the first animated multimedia games for computers, the first Java-based multiplayer games on the Web, and the first streaming video on mobile devices.
Tercek provides strategic insight and advice to many companies, including Nokia, Motorola, AMD, Sony Computer Entertainment, Turner Broadcasting, PBS, CNN, Interpublic Group, and Reed Exhibitions. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Creative Visions Foundation in Malibu, California.
An advocate of the future of media and information technology, Mr Tercek is a highly in-demand keynote speaker. He has been a featured speaker at NAB, CES, GDC, CTIA, NATPE, MIPTV, MAPIC, E3 Expo, Sundance Film Festival, X Media Lab, the Austin Game Conference, 3GSM, KidScreen Summit, MIT’s Future of Entertainment Summit, the World Technology Summit and many private corporate events. He lives in Los Angeles. Vaporized is his first book.
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Readers may approach this book with trepidation – lack of adequate information about the current state of technology taking on a threatening form – but Robert explains it all in such an accessible though brilliant manner. This is a book everyone should read and see the positive aspects of dematerialization as a key to our survival and not our obsolescence.
In his excellent Introduction Robert states, ‘Nicholas Negroponte (who provides a vivid Foreword for this book) founded the MIT Media Lab to conduct interdisciplinary research into media, technology, science, and design. There, Buckminster Fuller’s coinage got an upgrade from “ephemeralization” to “digitization,” a feat of linguistic finesse that locates the phenomenon squarely in the realm of the computer. Negroponte, the director of the Media Lab, urged us to “move bits, not atoms,” and his book Being Digital conveyed the implications of a dematerialized society to a general readership. Since the publication of Negroponte’s book in 1993, we’ve seen many of his predictions come true: broadband Internet, smart objects, artificial intelligence, and ultracheap, pocketable supercomputers sporting novel interfaces. Today these breakthroughs are taken for granted by a generation that grew up with YouTube, smartphones, selfies, Siri, and Wikipedia, but there was a time not too long ago when they were bold — even audacious — ideas….What exactly are these bits that replace atoms? Software. Most recently, the computer networking industry has adopted a term called “software-defined” to describe what is coming next. The term is trendy in the information technology field: software-defined networking, software-defined storage, software-defined data centers, software-defined clouds, software-defined everything. This is a major tech trend that will replace stubbornly inflexible purpose-built systems embodied in physical hardware with highly flexible systems written in software. Software-defined architectures are adaptable. The entire system operates in real-time, responding to incoming data, as needs change and as demand ebbs and flows. In this term, “software-defined,” we capture some of the essence of the twenty-first-century society — not just because a growing part of our economy rides on top of digital information networks, but also because the rules that shape software are beginning to redefine the rules of everything that touches it, up to and including the rules that govern society…This idea, “doing more with less by replacing physical stuff with digital information-as-a-service,” began with networking technology but now touches just about every industry imaginable. What is being transformed? Manufacturing, distribution, retail sales, marketing and media, and the very concept of buying and owning physical products. That’s what we’re going to examine in this book. I believe that the phrase “Do more with less” is not just a hollow slogan; it is a global strategic imperative. Doing more with less is the right thing to do. Not only is this a valid choice in a world constrained by finite resources; it also happens to be the best business strategy in an economy that is, and will continue to be, defined by software. From this point forward, by leveraging ubiquitous telecommunications networks and computer technology to make efficient use of abundant information resources, all of human society — not just companies, but also our civic institutions, educational establishments, and governing bodies — really will be able to do far more with less. Our economy will become more productive, and we will all be collectively much richer while consuming physical resources more wisely, making better use of both raw materials and finished goods. These are big claims, so what makes me so confident about them? What’s the secret? Information.’
This is only an aperitif for the feast of enlightenment contained in this fascinating book – a book everyone should read – now! Grady Harp, December 16
For those who like details, this book is insightful. For many, sections can be scanned because the details can become almost tedious as the author's extensive knowledge could be abridged.
The last chapters are a well paced and experienced elucidation of techno optimism. Where humans can go they will even to vaporizing humans into virtual presence with time and space no barriers. And rules of human culture potentially rewritten. Where there may be dragons left to others.
He takes simple principles that have become articles of faith here in Silicon Valley: Moore's and Metcalfe's Laws, and explains how they have been applied in major industries: publishing, music/media, advertising and even beverage distribution. Technology jargon is well explained and simplified for the non-technical executive, but more importantly he illustrates how waves of entrepreneurs have been able to use these principles to "vaporize" these industries, much in the way industries were reshaped in the gilded age with the advent of new innovations like railroads, internal combustion engines, electric lighting etc. He also offers examples of companies that "get" these principles and have managed to both survive and thrive in the face of the disruptive innovations of our information age.
But instead of stopping at this point, Mr Tercek, confidently wearing the hat of a futurist, makes bold statements like Anything that Can be Commoditized Will Be; Everything that Can be Measured Will Be; Everything that Can be Measured Will Be...and so on. And to prove that he is a real futurist and not just a connector of dots, skilled at pattern recognition and spotting early trends(Tom Friedman's books come to mind,) he goes on to point out specific industries where these principles are ripe for application. I know this because one of those industries is one where my company, founded just a year ago is focused and Mr Tercek has effectively predicted the founding of our company.
The utility of such predictions is tremendous. For the entrepreneur its a double edge sword. On the one hand you are on the right track, but on the other it is a reminder that competition will be fierce and fast and the spoils will go to one or just a few winners in a given disrupted industry. For the established industry, it is nothing short of a revile call, heralding that the last days of doing things as you have always done them are numbered. Leaders either need to disrupt themselves, by applying innovations that add value or be wiped out completely.
Mr Tercek goes well beyond the realm of the near future and explores artificial intelligence and even the possibility of a company that runs on artificial intelligence. He outlines the Optimistic and Pessimistic outlooks for such a future society, and clearly lands on the side of optimism, listing over 100 jobs, many of which did not exist more than 5-10 years ago, which offer rewarding opportunity to those who sign on to explore this future as it unfolds.
If I had to pick one element where he is off the mark, it would be the impact of these principles on education. He is very dismissive of American higher education in particular which to him seems too mired in politically correct thinking, drinking and sexual assault scandals to make real forward progress via innovation. To this I point out that the fruits of our era's disruptive innovations are largely the product of American higher education, albeit one largely fueled by the contributions of highly educated technical immigrants who have come and stayed in wave after wave of innovation, attracted by Silicon Valley's perfectly seasoned gumbo of first class education, risk appetite, access to capital and skilled developers, and tolerance. For me the lesson for higher education in America is simple: in addition to driving our government to reform immigration for the right reasons(attracting skilled developers if we cannot attract enough domestically), our colleges and universities need to step up their game since with MooC's, Kahn Acadamy and other online tools, certain transfer of knowledge and even diplomas have become commodities as well. But critical thinking skills are as essential to innovation as technical skills. The key is asking the right questions to determine the industries and the timing where and when these basic innovation principles should be applied. As Marc Andreesen points out...American-designed "software is eating the word," but more importantly the greatest entrepreneurs of the age who have learned how to both build from the bottom up and also see the big picture will win to see their software eat hearty.