Kara Swisher: Entrepreneurs Must Do These Five Things to Stay Relevant

Whether you’re a Hollywood film producer, a newspaper editor or an entrepreneur, the key to success is to “deliver your product to consumers in a way that they want to receive it,” said Kara Swisher, co-executive editor of AllThingsD, at the Women in Film and Television luncheon yesterday in Toronto.

This means following emerging consumer and technology trends in order to avoid becoming irrelevant.

“RIM is a perfect example of failing to respond to consumer changes,” she noted. “Lazaridis is a genius. But RIM missed so many consumer trends because they were protecting an old business. In the end, they broke their consumer relationship by not innovating.”

Below are five key trends that Swisher believes companies should watch in order to stay ahead of the curve.

1. SoMoLo: She began by explaining why the iPhone is the most important device of our era. As such, businesses need to consider how smartphones have changed the way we communicate.

For example, we’re now openly sharing our location (via FourSquare) and photos of our daily lives (using photos apps like Instagram) with others on social media platforms. We also rely on our mobile devices and mapping apps to help us get to the next location.

2. Ubiquity: Swisher used the example of wearable technology (like Google Glasses) to illustrate that technology will be with us wherever we go. She also talked about embeddable technology, like glucose meters for diabetes, and how we’ll rely on it even more in the future. “Screens will also be everywhere – even the tables and walls around us will become screens,” said Swisher.

3. Geolocation: According to Swisher, this will be extremely important for the delivery of information and advertising. “There will be more privacy implications because of geolocation but consumers are still willingly giving up their information online,” she explained. “People need to be more aware of what information they share about themselves online.”

4. Data Flood (or Big Data): She told the audience that “there is so much data at an advertiser’s disposal today because users are willingly giving information to them.” But current systems are not equipped to understand all of it yet. She said that “the people who can make sense of it (and can master geolocation) will be the ones in power.”

5. Always on: “We live in a digital world that’s 24/7,” said Swisher. “This creates a business environment where nothing turns off—so businesses must always be connected.” Likewise, she argued that consumers are in charge and require a constant feedback cycle.

Swisher’s own publication, AllThingsD, must constantly be thinking about all of the tools and platforms at their disposal to distribute content. “It’s incredibly exhausting,” admitted Swisher. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the human brain and social dialogue as a result.”

Swisher suggested that creative people, including film producers, writers, and more, should take advantage of all of the social media and content distribution platforms available to get their message out. “We [AllThingsD] get more traffic now from Twitter than we do from the WSJ.com homepage [with whom we’re affiliated],” she said. “Are we doing something magic? No. But we deliver content to consumers in ways that they want to read it.”

She ended her presentation by discussing the need to tap into talent worldwide through affordable high speed Internet access. “This helps with job creation. If a graphic designer in Detroit can’t find work locally, they may find clients in Brazil,” said Swisher. She argued that access is as important as highways.

If your startup is seeking exposure on AllThingsD, Swisher said you can write to her. “For some reason, Canadian startups aren’t as aggressive they are in the U.S. I don’t hear from as many of them. If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you’ve got to push yourself out there.”