How Companies Evolve in the Digital Era

We talk with author and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, who has published 10 books on media, culture, and technology. He joins us to discuss his most recent work, "Present Shock", which is about living in today's immediate, always-on world.

In this video segment, Rushkoff explains why applying industrial age solutions won't work in the digital age, and he posits how Dell's approach may succeed while GE's is doomed to fail.

A full transcript follows the video.

The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out which stock it is in the brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Brendan Byrnes: Do you see this turning around? I would say, looking at it right now, it's only getting more and more toward the other side, which is the present shock, living in the now. Do you see any way that this can change?

Douglas Rushkoff: To use your language, there's good ways it can change and bad ways it could change. The good ways it could change is we realize that we can't use the Internet to amplify the problems of the industrial age. The industrial age actually is over.

This race toward more efficiency, the "time is money" logic of the industrial age, where the way to make more money is to somehow compress more time into each moment, we can't just amplify that through digital technology. Digital technology is fundamentally different.

Either we'll understand that, understand we can't run our businesses at the rate of a debt structure, that we can't -- like GE tried in the '90s -- we can't leave all of our productive industries and just all become banks. That's not going to work.

We can unwind it more, say like Michael Dell is trying to, to go private so that he can liberate himself from his debt structure, from that clock, and become a much more asynchronous business, that expands and contracts.

If we can't do that, if we can't unwind that, then no. Then it will happen in a bad way. Then it will happen because there's just too many people unemployed, too many people out there who can't get jobs and that we can't really then support it anymore, with business as usual.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2508903, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/2/2014 3:50:26 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement