Tue, 15 October 2019
Is controversy good when it comes to innovating? Today’s guest is passionate about creating breakthroughs and states ‘If it isn’t controversial, it’s not a good idea’. Scott McNealy knows a few things about changing the game by challenging the status quo, disrupting platforms, products and services. Focusing on continually challenging an idea, model, platform, technology and service leads to disruptive breakthroughs and advances society. This week on Killer Innovations, Scott McNealy joins us to discuss a number of topics in the quest for future advances.
Lessons from the Trenches
Seeking to make an impact by looking at things from a different lens has always been Scott’s game if it’s technology, golf, education, marketing, politics or social issues. His open source view permeates his approaches and has led to positive impacts. Scott has had opportunities to learn from his pioneering and early mover days with Sun Microsystems to recent ventures in marketing and education platforms. There are many takeaways in the battles he and his teams engaged with over three decades of incredible growth and technology advances that made significant contributions to the boom of the PC and Internet. So what does it take to continue to innovate and grow. Scott has some key thoughts from disrupting markets, managing and leading in fast growth times to developing breakthrough products and services.
Augmenting Education Now and the Future
We need education advancement more than ever before. Today’s tools and platform don’t provide the best we can do as a society for our students, teachers and parents. Scott started Curriki to focus on augmenting the education experience and creating a new digital era in our education. A catalyst for Scott’s desire to challenge and create value in education was the rising cost of educational material and his open source mentality. The desire is to have no student, no teacher and no parent left behind. To fulfill that we need to continue Innovating around the facilitation of key learnings and interdisciplinary skills like critical thinking, communication, teamwork and civility along with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Curriki’s free and open source exchange platform with a new age of curriculum, is all about a virtual and classroom experience that:
Scott believes this is a group effort by society regardless of your views and he is looking for people who are passionate and interested in supporting the augmentation of our education system. Everyone can help create our future of education.
Making an Impact with Issues of Today
Tackling issues in society are important, however, the forum and approach you use can be effective or destructive. Finding commonality to break the divide and divisions in business and politics helps progress us forward and strengthen the future. Scott has a lot to say on challenging ideas and having healthy conversations around them. For companies being A-political and getting involved in policies that impact your business, investors and shareholders should be the focus, but not alienating substantial fractions of your customer base. Is Government’s job to promote or regulate business? Government is not the answer to innovation, or all the challenges and problems we have in society. Financial freedoms and liberties give people and business the abilities to make a difference. Scott is in the early ideation stages of a digital issue-based platform to provide a forum for healthy discussions around the challenges we face. This digital town hall approach would give everyone with different views the opportunity to make an impact and cross the aisle to find commonality and bridge the divide and solve problems. He doesn’t believe today’s social media platforms provide the best channels to get things done in a civil and breaking the divide fashion to progress forward.
Future Advances and Taking Responsibility
The future is full of many possibilities when it comes to disruptive technology. Autonomous everything will be one of the most impactful to our society. Where do you play in it and filter through the possibilities as an entrepreneur and innovator? Any area within a technology space can be the best or worst, but it is really about the execution. Some areas people have pinpointed as the unfruitful path have turned out to be the most successful. So do your research and analysis, then dive in, adjust and be nimble on your journey—don’t wait, fire away. Scott has challenged many leading companies from Microsoft, IBM and Apple taking on their ideas, products and business model—challenge the idea, not the people. Controversy leads to the next innovation breakthrough. Most importantly we need to have more responsibility and accountability with our generation on how we manage our own lives and not rely on others or Government to take care of our actions and needs.
About Our Guest
Scott McNealy is the former co-founder and CEO of Sun Microsystem which pioneered it’s way in computing technologies from hardware, operating systems to software, including the JAVA language. He was with Sun from its start in 1982, IPO in 1987 to sale to Oracle in 2010. Scott also is on many Boards and advises Fortune 500 to entrepreneurial startups. He co-founded social media intelligence company Wayin, which was recently acquired and founded Curriki the non-profit free education service. Scott is looking for help with Curriki and you can connect with him on Twitter.
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