Charles Araujo is an internationally recognized….oh, let’s just stop this right here. I’m writing this myself. You know it. I know it. So what’s with all the pretense, right?
Let’s try this again.
Hi. My name is Charles Araujo — but feel free to call me Charlie. I’ll tell you my story in a minute, but let’s face it, you won’t care about me until you understand how I may be of value to you.
Fair enough. Let’s start there.
My Mission: To Prepare You for a Changing World
Here’s what I believe. We are on the cusp of a fundamental shift in how the world works. I’m not talking about Armageddon, and I’m not worried about computers taking over the world in some SciFi sort of way, but over the next few decades everything you and I know about how society and organizations function is going to change — dramatically. And, as you might expect, that’s going to have a significant impact on our lives and on the nature of how we work.
Technology is fueling this disruption, transformation, or whatever you want to call it, but this story isn’t really about technology. Instead, this story is about how technology is enabling some fundamental shifts in how the world works — and what we, as leaders and as people, need to do to prepare for what is already happening.
Whether you’re the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world, a mid-level manager, an entrepreneur, or almost anyone in between, this is going to affect you.
My mission is to help you see what is happening and help you and your organization (even if it’s an organization of one!) find a path into this future that will allow you to thrive.
The obvious question, then, is why in the world am I qualified to do so?
All My Roads Led Me to You
My tech career (if a ten-year-old can have a career) began with a Commodore 64 and a screwdriver.
That first computer opened my eyes to the wonder of technology and how we could use it to transform, well, everything. But even as much I like to think I saw the bigger picture of technology’s impact, I didn’t see all of this coming.
By the time I was in high school I had started a business building and selling self-branded PCs (think Dell without the billion-dollar success story!) and bought my first car by writing an order management system in COBOL (a language still used on mainframes) and selling it to a local manufacturing firm.
By the time I was 25, I was running technical operations for a billion dollar healthcare company, I oversaw about 100 permanent staff and temporary contractors and had a budget of $10 million. Crazy, right?
I then spent the next 15 or so years advising enterprise IT executives on technical projects and things like organizational design, operational optimization, and process improvement. While I was working with these large organizations, I began to see that the world of IT was changing. The Internet, social media, Software-as-a-Service (Salesforce, etc.), and the cloud were changing the role of IT — and IT leaders were having a tough time adapting.
That realization led me to begin focusing on the transformation of the IT function within enterprise organizations — and led me to write my first book, The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change.
Ironically enough, that book changed everything — for me!
I started traveling the world talking about the future of IT and what it meant to IT and business leaders. This new phase of my life eventually led to a speaking tour of New Zealand in which I was asked to speak at an event hosted by The U.S. Embassy and the Aukland University of Technology called the Digital Disruption conference. This audience wasn’t IT people — it was CEO’s, academics, and small business leaders.
And it made me wonder how these forces that I’d been researching, writing about, and speaking on were affecting the rest of the real world.
Digital Transformation and a Transformed World
When I was preparing for that speech in New Zealand, a light bulb went off. This was big. Much bigger than I had realized.
What I recognized was that the changes wreaking havoc on IT were just the tip of the spear. There was a much more significant shift occurring, and it was going to affect everyone.
I saw that technology was enabling organizations to reevaluate, reassess, and reimagine business practices that had stood for decades and sometimes hundreds of years. I realized that this new application of technology had led to the end of the industrial age and that we had entered a new era — what I call the Digital Era — in which we are free to transform the fundamental ways in which we structure, manage, and lead organizations.
The industry refers to this movement as digital transformation and I formed an organization called The Institute for Digital Transformation to study and promote it.
The challenge is that too many people take that term to mean that it’s all about technology. But it is really about this much more fundamental shift that is occurring.
The problem is that we are at the very beginning of this shift, so a lot of things don’t look all that different — yet.
But I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that what’s coming next represents as fundamental a change in how the world works as did the rise of the industrial age hundreds of years ago.
While I won’t begin to pretend that I have all the answers, we only need to observe the changes that are already occurring to have a pretty good idea of how things may develop.
The New Human Age
I have spent the last seven years researching the forces that are behind all of the changes happening around us and here is what I believe:
Within the next few decades, anything that we (as a society) can reduce to an algorithm, we will automate. This automation will lead to a massive disruption both concerning how organizations function and in the nature of work itself. This intelligent automation will devalue much of what modern workers do today and will cause a reset in how organizations create and sustain value.
In this automated world, the chief driver of value will become humanness.
In fact, it will be the very things that computers cannot do that will become most valuable. In this technology-driven world, it will be the very things that make you human — creativity, innovation, and ingenuity — that will set you apart and allow you to thrive, both individually and as organizations.
Embracing My Humanness
And so, we’ve come full circle.
You wanted my story, and, as fate would have it, my story is all about you.
I believe that it is imperative that you understand what is happening and what you can do to prepare for this inevitable future. Your ability to do so is essential for both your future and for the future of any organization you run.
Preparing for this future, however, won’t be easy.
You need to understand how technology is going to affect you. And you need to reorient yourself, your skills, and your mindset around cultivating those skills that society has undervalued for far too long.
The key to your future success will be your ability to free the unbridled humanness already living within you.
And I want to help you do it.