Can Technology Help You Deal with Uncertainty?

Mary Meeker
This is a slightly different question I asked a couple of years back.

Invest in better promises

There are many ways to deal with uncertainty. From diversifying your investment portfolio and doing better due diligence on the companies where you invest — I'm seeing the arguments put forth by Fred Wilson, Mark Suster, and in some ways Mark Cuban on supporting strong businesses as valid.

Strong work ethics also pay off.

Make better promises

Another way would be to diversify your skill set. Either being really good at selling in the post-push world, or being very deep in one specific — and in demand — domain. Programming, engineering, analytics all come to mind right off the bat. I'm seeing plenty of opportunity in that direction.

Other valued skills sets: building white spaces vs. drilling black holes. Identifying a model to trade on, and building a business trading that model.

Think more clearly

The good news is that there is so much going on. The bad news is that there is too much going on that is a similar flavor of the same. Or is not a real trade. For example, a feature in search of a problem.

Thinking more clearly may mean also shutting off much of the stimuli as you create or identify the problem you are going to solve. Tom Foremski called it Conversation Overload. His antidote is spending a chunk of [his] day in a conversation blackout zone so that [he] can think, write, and so that [he] can hear [his] own conversation with [him]self.

Wait before you draw harried conclusions, be in that white space, and listen to your own thinking.

Trade on value

Regardless of your profession or skill level, the value of your trade depends on relationships. Especially today. This is not about "social proofing" with comments or likes. There's a bit of confusion there.

It's about someone taking your call because what you wrote, what you made, helped them.

One good and trusted relationship could be all you need. It is smart to think about capturing the value of what you create; even better to execute on connecting.


Today, we put the term "social" in front of media, marketing, networks and bolt features on. Social media is the modern version of the telephone. Social media is not the conversation.

It's not the answer to all your prayers. If you're at the point of praying, then the business model is the one needing help.

It's the room in which you hold the conversation. It still comes down to saying, doing, or producing something valuable for your customer. 

It's early days. Many a platform being built could be the predecessor of something else much more useful in the future. Right now, people don't converse, they comment. Big difference. Technologies have evolved greatly. We're still catching up.

Can technology help you deal with uncertainty?


If you feel paralyzed by fear and doubt, you can learn how to turn those into fuel for brilliance with daily practices. Find those in Jonathan Fields' new book: Uncertainty [Amazon affiliate link].


[image that made the rounds on G+ by Mary Meeker, Web 2.0]

[Disclosure: although I bought the 3-book package with the fear poster and 6-week Q&A goodness included, Jonathan, who I consider a friend, also sent me a review copy of the book. Stay tuned for a book raffle in coming days, which will most likely favor those who comment the most on this blog. It means we already know the winner, don't we, Brian? Relationships matter.]

0 responses to “Can Technology Help You Deal with Uncertainty?”

  1. For me, it’s the proper application of technology that reduces uncertainty.
    Uncertainty is a fact of life and those who thrive in the face of it do so by leveraging technology in a way that benefits them and others.
    I always think of technology as a way to amplify churn. Churn is how much you interact and react to the events and people around you. The more high quality churn, the more opportunities will naturally come your way. The more opportunities, the less uncertainty .

  2. Indeed, it’s the business model that needs help. Social media is merely the next evolution of communication; the culmination of the Pony Express, telephone, and email. The tools are important, but more important is how the tools are used.
    Chance favors the prepared mind.
    Prepare to provide genuine value.

  3. The way I think about it is by helping with feedback and data, which you can then turn into information. I’m thinking interacting and associating with top quality events and people helps as well.

  4. because that is also how *you* get value back in the form of strength and resilience through the relationship. It is truly two-way, and it is puzzling to me how so many sleep walk through their interactions.

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