Fringe Legal #55: back next week 🔄
I'm taking a little break to avoid burnout and will be back to regular content cadence from next week.
In the meantime, here's something from one of the previous issues:
Salesforce bought slack for $27.7 billion. There are plenty of opinions on the acquisition, so I'll spare you yet another one. For a fun story, explore the origin story behind Slack (the last-ditch pivot from a games company!) and how it grew into one of the fastest adopted enterprise software in its early days.
Slack has a vibrant community around it, including many businesses that started because of it and are fully powered by it. Two thoughts come to mind: (1) will Salesforce add communication capabilities and compete with Zoom/Teams and add a new line of business; and (2) will Discord (or similar) become a more prominently recognized consumer app (outside of gamers and enthusiasts)?
A recent conversation with Alex Low triggered some thoughts on work by futurist Gerd Leonhard. I have explored some of Gerd's work before, particularly around the notion of transformation and change squared (Change²). At a very high level, it is this:
Change has previously been gradually then suddenly; however, things have shifted more towards sudden and exponential. Winning and losing are happening faster than ever before. In the age of autonomy, human-only traits will become extremely valuable: technology will represent the how of change, but humans will define the why.
Transformation is ongoing, and I believe that the legal profession is in the early stages of its current phase. There needs to be a paradigm shift in the process of getting work done. Two stories that sum up where we are:
Lessons from the early Web:
Back in the Web's early days, to design a website, people would often follow the process they used to design a printed brochure and then "convert to HTML." They were bolting on a new technology onto an aging process, ignoring the full capability of a new way of creating.
Lessons from (someone's) grandpa:
In the days when TVs had buttons (yes, that happened), grandpa bought a new television with a remote control so he could change the channels more easily. But because grandpa didn't want to lose the remote control, he would always keep it on top of the TV. Every time grandpa wanted to change the channel, he got up off the sofa, walked to the TV, picked up the remote, changed the channel, and sat back down again.
If you want a different outcome, especially a step up in orders of magnitude, you need to reimagine the processes and behaviors. Don't limit effectiveness and functionality by bolting on to current ways of doing things. I am starting to see new processes and workflows emerge, but there is still a long way to go.
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