Everywhere we look, the economy is changing. Growth doesn't look like it used to. Work and the workplace have turned upside down. Business leaders and policy makers are wondering what to do. And it's still early, with even more change on the horizon.
Jerry Michalski and April Rinne are here to help you navigate this space, both today and moving forward.
Together and individually, they have seen these forces at work and helped birth new industries. From microfinance to tech booms (and busts), from the sharing economy to automation, and from new business models to trust-driven innovation, each of them has been at the 50 yard line in the very early stages of some of the most important transformations of the last three decades. They love what they do, and when they do it together, more than doubling the value they bring to the table.
They’re great at trailblazing and they love helping others forge profitable new paths.
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Jerry Michalski helps people see the future differently. He was a key tech industry analyst in the middle of the dot-com vortex, shaping how entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and journalists saw the early Internet; shining a spotlight on specific trends and startups; and making important introductions. He advises organizations large and small on how to navigate the waves of technological and social change that are transforming their industries and our world. Briefly put, producers could once mostly ignore consumers, telling them what was on offer and what they should want. Now the playing field is much more level. People are not mere consumers. Companies are realizing this, which is leading to a humanization of capitalism. The problem is, most companies don’t know how to be human, strange as that may seem. Jerry helps organizations become more human by offering unique perspectives on innovation, automation, big data, reputation, trust, authenticity, intent, purpose and other words that frighten the lawyers. He does this by guiding conversations into deep waters, framing issues crisply and clearly, and opening new possibilities.
The sharing economy, collaborative economy, on-demand economy, freelance economy, gig economy, access economy, trust economy -- or even just the “new economy”: what is going on? From Airbnb to TaskRabbit and Uber, hundreds of sharing and on-demand platforms are transforming industries and causing us to rethink almost every aspect of our lives. Anyone with a spare room, a car or even a little free time can become a mini-entrepreneur. What is the future evolution of these businesses? Who are the next disruptors on the horizon? What -- and where -- are the real opportunities and obstacles? Sharing Economy expert April Rinne has the answers. Advisor of choice for a range of private and public sector organizations, from Airbnb to the World Economic Forum and governments worldwide, a graduate of Harvard Law and an inveterate traveler, Rinne can help you see the shifts underway through a practical, helpful lens and bring new insights to light for you and your organization.
Lessons from the Frontlines of Change and Innovation
Reporting from the vanguard of innovation, Rinne and Michalski offer a game-changing and informative deep-dive into the forces that are changing the way we live, work, and do business. In this fascinating and substantive program, they each unpack three engaging stories of fundamental change they've witnessed and participated in—from the effects of automation to the rise of the gig economy, and from leapfrogging innovation in emerging markets to understanding tech's new horizons — providing riveting anecdotes, crucial analysis and tangible takeaways on issues such as the future of work, rediscovering trust, consumerism's effects, business model disruption, globalization vs. global citizenship, and tech and human interaction. A highly customizable program in which they will tailor their stories to your audience, Rinne and Michalski will provide a roadmap for how to navigate an uncertain future, translating change into opportunity at every step.
Tomorrow’s Business Models: What Succeeds?
In so many ways, the business world is transforming before our eyes. Boundaries of cost and access that have protected incumbent business models for decades are crumbling. Ordinary citizens can share open blueprints and make things, by accessing new technologies and tools, opening up innovation to far more people. Market-makers no longer need to own any assets. These shifts are playing out in almost every sector imaginable, affecting everything from transportation to tourism, lifestyles to labor markets, and sustainability to social connections. In the process, new business models are emerging that portend to redefine business even further. Together, Jerry and April guide you -- highlighting examples from around the world -- through examples of these new models, how are they taking root today, and what's on the horizon.
The New Economy: What’s It All About?
The New Economy: the term raises eyebrows immediately, as do terms such as Sharing Economy, Collaborative Economy and On-Demand Economy. More fundamentally, we're looking at how new technologies enable more people to connect with more people, learn more things and create more value than ever before in human history. This leads to a series of ripple effects: increased awareness of unsustainable business practices, a growing sense that "stuff doesn't mean happiness," enhanced social connections, and innovative ideas coming from unprecedented corners of the world. Traditional dynamics related to production and consumption, supply and demand, and growth metrics are increasingly coming under pressure as these concepts, new models of value creation and resource management emerge. Together, April and Jerry expertly show you how the New Economy is manifest today and what we can expect tomorrow.
The Changing Face of Producers, Consumers and the Value Chain
Not long ago, Producers and Consumers were separate entities. The former made things, the latter bought them. Those boundaries have melted. Not only are consumers often also producers, but also -- with increasing frequency -- they may not need companies to meet their needs at all. Today, wise companies are rethinking every aspect of their business and value chain. They are building authentic relationships with ordinary people to critique, review, design, sell and even fulfill their offers, the way Lyft and TaskRabbit do. In some cases, they are turning their business models almost inside out -- often with surprising success. These shifts are creating all-new value chains and prompting changes in how we think about value as well as values.
Jerry Michalski is a futurist with a practical, humanist bent. He is also a Gladwellian connector, guide and pattern finder. Since 1987, he has been helping organizations large and small navigate the turbulent changes at the messy juncture of hyperconnectivity and outdated world views.
Practically, this means delivering speeches with insights that help organizations: be authentic — and therefore more trustworthy — in a mass-media world; innovate, working with the world’s new forces, not against them; design from trust; re-imagine their relationships to those people formerly known as consumers; see where value is going as markets flip and citizens stop acting as mere consumers; and understand and leverage the effects of automation on their various stakeholders.
Through a dozen years’ experience as a leading technology industry analyst, Jerry developed his perspective. As an analyst, he helped shape technology markets and in particular introduced the Internet to investors, entrepreneurs, corporate users, civic entities and nonprofits. For example, in the June 1993 issue of Release 1.0 (then the leading tech newsletter), he wrote about online community — then an obscure concept — illustrating how much more was already happening online than commerce.
In the middle of that period, just as the Internet started warming up in the mid-90s, Jerry noticed that the word “consumer” didn’t sit right. Paying attention to that word and its implications helped him realize that we are in the early stages of making capitalism more human — and more humane. He calls this new era the “Relationship Economy,” in contrast to the fragmenting and problematic consumer mass-marketing economy.
Speeches ignite imaginations, but it is often what you do right afterward that catalyzes change. Conversations about large-scale change can be difficult, especially if they challenge long-held views or corporate taboos. Over the years, Jerry has developed facilitation skills that let him guide conversations that are safe yet deep, diving into uncomfortable waters and expanding perspectives.
In 2010, Jerry turned the Relationship Economy insights into a think-and-do tank called REX (the Relationship Economy eXpedition). REX members come from Kaiser Permanente, Deloitte, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, the United Nations Foundation, the Institute for the Future, Intuit and many more. Together they explore the implications of this shift to a focus on relationships. In particular, how can organizations still thrive in this new world order?
Along the way, Jerry has advised numerous startups, from Pyra, which became Blogger and then got acquired by Google, to Evernote and CoTweet, which is now part of Salesforce.com.
Although he’s not in the Guinness Book of World Records, Jerry does have a clear claim to uniqueness: the world’s largest published Brain. (TheBrain is a concept-mapping application Jerry adopted on its first press tour, back in 1998.) To get a feeling for Jerry’s Brain, search for “Jerry’s Brain” in the Apple app store. Now imaging tracking everything you care about for 18 years and curating it with care, accumulating a quarter million nodes connected by nearly half a million links — all put in by hand.
Jerry earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Irvine, and an M.B.A. in International Business from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Jerry’s parents met in Bolivia; they raised him in Peru and Argentina, with a year in Berlin after that. As a result, he can deliver speeches in fluent Spanish and German, as well as English, of course — all like a local. His French is also good enough for public speaking.
ADVISOR | SPEAKER | WRITER | GLOBAL CITIZEN
April Rinne is equal parts global authority, advocate, ally and adventurer. She sees trends early, understands their potential, and helps others do the same. She’s a global citizen who brings insights, access and perspective to companies, governments, investors and organizations worldwide. But April is not only a thought leader; she’s also a doer. She connects people, ideas and resources in ways that say "wow, that's what the world needs" – and then makes it happen.
Advisor: April is a pathfinder within the new economy (encompassing the digital, sharing, collaborative, freelance, gig, on-demand and platform economies). She advises startups and established companies, local and national governments, policy makers, think tanks and investors, working across for-‐profit and non-‐profit models. Her areas of expertise include policy reform; global expansion; the future of work; travel and tourism; sustainable development; cities; and emerging markets. She is known for her skill in bridging the private, public and social sectors, seeing shifts and opportunities before they go mainstream, and having a keen eye towards responsible, inclusive business.
Speaker & Writer: April is an acclaimed keynote speaker and contributes regularly to news and media about the new economy, future of work and global citizenship. She has presented at a wide range of events, from Davos to the EU Commission, industry convenings and private workshops.
Global Citizen: April belongs to the world. She espouses the values of global citizenship: diversity, interdependence, empathy and perspective. She has traveled to more than 100 countries, worked in more than 50, and lived overseas for more than 10 years. She works in approximately 20 different countries each year.
The Fine Print
Education: April holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.A. in International Business and Finance from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a B.A. summa cum laude from Emory University. She is a Fulbright Scholar and has also studied at Oxford University, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the European University Institute.
Memberships: April is a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum where she leads the Sharing Economy Working Group and is a member of the Global Futures Council for the Future of Mobility and the Urbanization Advisory Group.
She is a member of China’s National Sharing Economy Committee and serves on the Advisory Boards of the Sharing Cities Alliance, Seoul Sharing City (South Korea), Amsterdam Sharing City (The Netherlands), Sharing Economy Denmark (SEDK), the National League of Cities (USA) and World Pulse (global). She is also a founding member of BBPDX.
Previously: April was Chief Strategy Officer at Collaborative Lab, a private lawyer specializing in international microfinance, impact investing and regulatory reform; global Director of WaterCredit at Water.org; adjunct faculty at the International Development Law Organization; director of the World Wide Web Foundation; and advisor to numerous social enterprises and financial institutions.
As a lawyer, she helped draft new legislation and create new investment vehicles for groundbreaking business models in several emerging markets, which are considered global best-practice standards today. She also advised on some of the earliest, groundbreaking initiatives and research in the developing world in collaboration with startups, international development banks and innovation firms.
Interests: Running (1:45 half marathon), yoga, and hiking (from the Himalayas to Aconcagua). Extended solo travel. Maps. Photography. Architecture. Finding the world’s best cinnamon roll. And don’t compete with her on handstands – you’ll lose.