Respond And Retreat, says Tech Futurist Shara Evans
This blog is based on an episode of our podcast, The PathCast. The Pathcast is an interview series with tech and business experts, discussing the good, the bad and the ugly of business and provides actionable steps for you to implement from the ground up. You can listen to this episode here.
Shara Evans is an internationally acknowledged technology futurist, telecom industry expert, commentator, keynote speaker, strategy advisor and thought leader. With a hard technical background, she’s always had an interest in technologies and the way they shape business and the future.
But how did she go from computer science to futurism? When working in a corporate, Shara helped businesses navigate “this new thing” data networking, which became the internet.
“Clients were saying to me, hey Shara you’re actually giving us better advice than the big management consulting firms are. We’d like to work with you as a consultant,” she explained. “So I took on board and, in 1997, I started my first company, which is actually still going now.”
Telsyte, which Evans founded and ran as managing director from 1997 to 2005, was bought from her by a publicly listed company. She then went on to found and run, Market Clarity, an award-winning technology analyst firm, where she is still currently CEO. But in 2017, perhaps responding to a widespread shift towards personalization, Evans began speaking under her own, personal brand.
Respond to your market
When Evans set up shop in 1997, she was reacting to what her network said. Shifting from Market Clarify to Shara Evans was no different. The former focused specifically on telecommunications and its verticals, but the introduction of the National Broadband Network [NBN] in Australia, where Evans is based, meant the industry stalled.
Telcos she previously worked with began merging, shrinking the telco market and therefore her potential clientele. As a result, Evans responded to the changes in her industry.
“A lot of my clients were carriers investing in infrastructure so this wasn’t good for me. I started by thinking about the impact of this NBN and that’s how I decided that running a tech analyst firm specifically for telecoms wasn’t right anymore.
“But, I had started to develop a track record for predicting things and for them to come true. I was being introduced to people as a futurist so I thought, hey, why not? This way I got to step back to my old love of technology as a whole.”
In line with such technological advancements, Evans now speaks about a wide range of innovations across sectors.
Today, Evans’ reading list comes in all forms, but she pays particular attention to:
- 3D printing,
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
- Privacy and Cybersecurity
- Alternative energy
- And the deployment of AI, including everything from neural networks, deep learning, natural language processing to facial recognition and robots
Get off-grid to fuel your business
To really consider the implications of such technologies, Evan takes herself off-grid and into the Amazon for four to six weeks at a time.
“I go completely off-grid and into the Amazon jungle to allow my mind to invent things. Traversing through ancient archeological sites and imagining what life might have been like years ago in different places is a favorite too,” she said.
“This helps me get into a deep meditative state, where I can really think about the implications of all of these technologies. I come up with multiple scenarios for how the world looks, and where the pivot points are.”
Modern founders have long advocated the need to go off-grid, perhaps Evans was ahead of her time here too. While this is for clarity and creativity, cutting yourself off for a while is vital in a good work-life balance. It will also help you contextualize current events better, which will help to future-proof your business. We all know how detrimental filter bubbles can be.
“I always try to identify the black swan, the unexpected events, and how people will respond to new technologies,” Evans added.
It’s this mentality that will help you identify what your business needs to do to future proof, or what your startup should be building to succeed in a modern environment.
If you’re interested in hearing what else Shara Evans has to say, touching base on technologies and business mistakes to watch, listen to The PathCast now.
PS. Want to stay in the loop with tech?
If you’d like to stay up to date with Evans and her insights for the future, catch her on all of the regular social channels.