Seven new laws to succeed in a world gone digital

‘Velocity’, the book by Ajaz Ahmed from AKQA and Stefan Olander from Nike, identifies seven truths that individuals and businesses should adopt to thrive in a world that is dominated by rapid change and digital technology.

Living in this world myself, I understand your attention span is low and time is a scarcity. So I will share the 7 laws of Velocity and some of the insights I got from the book ‘Velocity’.

1. A Smith & Wesson beats four aces – Evolve immediately. Entitlement kills.

Velocity doesn’t care who you are or how good you were yesterday. It’s coming for you anyway. Don’t be a sitting duck. See the big picture. Find the pain points, see patterns taking shape and act.

Some quotes from this chapter:

“…trying to protect what you’ve got is a mistake.”

“…the next decade is about simplifying our lives and solving everyday needs in a more enriching way.”

“…destabilise what you have in order to get what you want.”



2. It’s easier done than said – Get going. Then get better.

Velocity takes courage, focus and determination, but gives back efficiency and rewards intuition, interaction and gutsiness.


Some quotes from this chapter:

“An organisation needs more ‘doers’ who are motivated by making stuff.”

“…with the ‘internet of things’ and connected products we can now begin to imagine a point where instant consumer feedback can be applied to anything.”

“…you must be a ’super-user’ of your product.”


3. The best advertising isn’t advertising – Make meaningful connections.

Wondering which half of your ad spend is wasted? Velocity says: ‘Wrong question. Try again.’ Instead of interrupting people, serve them and make them feel something. Sorry, but that takes longer than thirty seconds.

Some quotes from this chapter:

“[Advertising] will offer interactions and services that satisfy real needs, not blanket persuasions.”

“Ideas that inspire people to pay attention, stimulating their curiosity, rewarding their intelligence and therefore creating an emotional connection, have the greatest engagement.”

“In an era of collaborative consumption, where we are increasingly sharing, it’s more important to be trustworthy, than to be rich.”


4. Convenient is the enemy of right – Never have anything to apologise for.

Velocity needs you to be streamlined. The requisite craftsmanship takes perseverance and discipline. Obsess over important details, and edit ferociously.

Some quotes from this chapter:

“…innovation is inconvenient because it’s hard work.”

“…you have to pay attention to what it is that people do, rather than just what they say.”

5. Respect human nature – Make yourself proud of making people’s lives easier, richer and more fun. Don’t just give people choice, help them choose.

Digital is the means, not the end. Technology sometimes obscures this ultimate truth, and makes it easy to forget that at the far side of an app, a Tweet, an anything, there’s a person.

Some quotes from this chapter:

“When the way to store a document is by clicking on the floppy disk icon, it doesn’t seem right. There’s at least a generation of people who have not used a floppy disk, but it’s still the metaphor used.”

“People weren’t asking the right question. They were asking ‘How can we bring the cooking book to the iPhone?’ when they should have been asking ‘How can we turn the iPhone into a tool for cooking?.”

“Now [IT’s] the ability to seamlessly invite customers into your world, let them explore, experience and create services that grow and become richer the more they engage with your brand. // It means every company needs to be a software company and that means learning to articulate your brand values through technology.”

6. No joke survives a committee of six – Have the balls to make the calls.

For organisations with structures that sand down all rough edges and desiccate anything juicy, something terrible will happen: nothing. It’s time for decision-making regimes that hold up to Velocity.

Some quotes from this chapter:

“…studied where the best decisions come from and how the best decisions are made, as companies made a shift from good to great, they were struck by the absence of consensus.”

“The trick is to get rid of oppressive status relationships without creating a noisy free-for-all.”

7. Have a purpose larger than yourself – Do the right thing: always play from your heart.

Velocity will disproportionately reward organisations and individuals that aim to make a meaningful and enduring contribution. Let your imagination and curiosity power progress.

Some quotes from this chapter:

“Creative leaders never lose their ability to dream.”

“It’s not convenient to be resilient, but it’s right. It’s the signature of excellence.”

“The single biggest opportunity today is that buying a product or service marks the beginning of the consumer relationship.”


‘Velocity: The Seven New Laws For A World Gone Digital’

by Ajaz Ahmed and Stefan Olander

Published by Vermilion, 2012

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