In addition to their frequent regional events, the Entrepreneur’s Organization of Birmingham attends the Global Leadership Conference every year. This year’s conference was held in Macau, China from April 12-15 and saw business leaders from all over the world. Representatives from the boards of each chapter were invited to attend, and this year EO Birmingham’s incoming president, membership chair, and communications director all attended.
During the two days prior to the conference, attendees are invited to participate in events and preplanned activities—all they have to do is sign up and attend! These activities can be group hikes, group dinners at certain restaurants, etc. The idea is to give attendees opportunities to try different experiences they may not have tried otherwise.
One of the conference days is dedicated specifically to various board positions, with the goal of preparing members for their upcoming year. In these seminars, members learn what to expect out of their year on the board. Of course, networking opportunities were huge at this conference. The Birmingham business owners in attendance were able to talk about common issues, as well as the future of the business world, with other entrepreneurs from all over.
The event was emceed by Pascal Finette, with Keynote Speaker Steve Wozniak, and featured other experts like Rachel Sibly, Leonard Brody, Daniel Epstein, and many more. Most spoke on technology and the way it’s shaping the business world and its future. They talked about AI, the sharing of technology, the speed at which it’s progressing, and how entrepreneurs can adapt and thrive in an ever-changing world.
The overall tone of the conference? Technology is changing and changing fast—but this isn’t something to be afraid of. It’s something that can help you if you’re adapting to it. The GLC speakers asked thought provoking questions and explored future tech possibilities. For example, say your company builds websites. What do you do when AI-built websites are standard? People will never be obsolete, but the rapid growth of technology means you have to do some problem solving to stay relevant.
A common talking point was the difference between innovation and disruption. Innovation is simply finding a better way to do what you’ve been doing. Disruption, however, is doing this in such a way that makes old things or the old way of doing things obsolete. An example of innovation would be Nokia. The company was always improving their product, constantly pushing the envelope, until the iPhone came and disrupted. One current company exemplifying innovation is John Deere. They already have autonomous tractors and are doing a phenomenal job of keeping up with other technological trends and advancements.
Innovation can’t happen, though, without rejecting biases. There are biases we’re very familiar with, like personal or political biases, but there are also more subconscious biases we need to deal with. If you have a rigid preconceived notion of how something should work, you’ll never be open minded enough to realize how it could work, and you may get left behind.
Machines are coming—there’s no way around it. There are things, though, that machines will never replace. Things like empathy, innovation, creativity, parenting, etc. are things machines can never replace. A lot of big tech companies are investing in that idea. For example, Amazon is currently desperate for more people—they’re handing out huge incentives to get more people working for them. They’re a company who’s focusing on what machines can’t do.
With every new generation comes a smaller generational gap. As technology advances faster, fewer and fewer differences can be found from generation to generation. This can be directly connected to how quickly things are moving. For example, there are several billion and trillion dollar industries today that didn’t even exist a decade ago. Apps, E-sports, Youtube stars, Blockchain, CryptoKitties—all of these are extremely successful industries that, in the grand scheme of things, popped up overnight.
The future is bright for entrepreneurs. Finding common ground with business owners and technology experts around the globe is essential to growth and adaptation—and that’s something machines will never replace.