Lifehacker Martijn Aslander warns CFOs for 'weapons of mass disruption'

After dazzling the CFOs and other top finance professionals with a barrage of inspiring technological innovations, visionary speaker and entrepreneur Martijn Aslander sounded the clarion call for a people-centered digital revolution. “In the next ten years, the world will have changed more than it has in the last century.”

During CFO South Africa's Get Smart in 2015 events, on Tuesday hosted in the JSE Limited in Sandton and on Thursday in the Cape Town Club, Aslander warned that the future belongs to a new breed of entrepreneurs, who are prepared to unleash "weapons of mass disruption", taking aim at the (business) world as we know it. "These are dangerous people. They are not in it for the money and don't even have a business model - all they want is to improve the lot of humankind. The only competitive advantage a company really has is the ability to learn."

"In the next ten years, the world will have changed more than it has in the last century."

The Dutch livewire spoke about digitisation and crowd sourcing and condemned the ruthless profiteering of hyper-capitalism. "In the future, it is no longer about what you own or what you do, but about your attitude and ability to adapt," he said.

More about Martijn Aslander here and here.

In a simple but profound example of the dearth of digital skills in many large companies, he pointed to the legions of employees who attain a basic proficiency in Microsoft Outlook and other email clients without ever trying to advance their skills set to enhance productivity. "I go through 400 emails and monitor 900 websites every day, even though I spend most of my day attending meetings and am at my computer for an hour at most. The secret is in how you filter all this information," he said, before demonstrating how he uses voice commands to respond to emails. This is the essence of his lifehacking philosophy: "Accomplishing more in less time, with less stress, at lower cost with the use of simple digital tools."

In his introduction, Aslander, a renowned motivational speaker, author and explorer told the CFOs that the world was experiencing a new Renaissance, a golden age fuelled by the cumulative power of networking. Unencumbered by financial jargon, he spoke of revolutionary personal healthcare gadgets like the SCIO handheld molecular scanner and the Scanadu Scout, a tiny device that is able to measure your heart rate, breathing and temperature with minimum fuss.

Aslander also mentioned the incredible IBM Watson, a supercomputer with the power to decipher the cryptic clues needed to succeed on the American game show Jeopardy and to devise a recipe for the world's best chilli sauce in a matter of milliseconds.

He highlighted the achievements of electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors and space travel pioneer SpaceX, along with those of founder Elon Musk, who has released his patents into the public domain as a catalyst for development. He encouraged the audience to visit the "most disruptive website on the planet", Instructables, which allows its users to painlessly share and access information on all manner of complex subjects. Perhaps the most eye-opening figure Aslander mentioned was 18-year-old medical scientist Jack Andraka, who has made important contributions towards finding a cure for pancreatic cancer using Google and Wikipedia.

Aslander urged the executives to harness the power of their clients and think more in terms of resources than purely monetary gain. Aslander argued that digitisation would allow for infinitely scalable and free products.

One would think that the idea of giving things away for free would be anathema to finance professionals whose primary concern is the bottom line. But as they streamed out into the foyer, one could sense a new appetite for creativity and exploration take hold.

See the pictures of the event here.

Download more information on Frank Rizzo's presentation:

  • The Changing Landscape of Disruptive Technologies - Global Technology Innovation Insights 2014/2015 from KPMG:
  • Responsibly Balancing Risk and Reward from Emerging Technologies:

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