TEP was founded in 2011 with the belief that the fast exchange of new concepts and ideas is vital for global economies. We started with a transatlantic perspective, which has since become a broader vision connecting tech ecosystems around the world. Originally we focused on the media and publishing industry. Media was not only being challenged by new technology, but fundamentally disrupted—maybe like no other industry at that time.
The threat has not gone away and the most successful media companies continue to transform themselves in order to persist and thrive. At this year’s conference, we will hear from ESPN, News Corp, Axel Springer, and others with a status update on their transition to becoming technology and media companies. While this is interesting in itself, the 2016 TEP conference aims to explore the bigger picture of change. What can other industries learn from top media companies and their approach to change—both strategically and operationally? What are the concepts, tools, and fundamental approaches to business that we can learn from media companies?
One of the crucial trends we have been following is that product design, especially for software-intense products, is increasingly developed differently than traditional engineering. Remember when we used to get everyone on the same page, and ensure resources were properly allocated, through planning? At our best a thought-through plan was diligently designed, tested, and then brought to market; engineers implemented those plans and were expected to at least aspire to perfection.
Software development on the other hand often seems messy; never perfect, never on time and always a work in progress. This way of developing products and services is finding its way into general business management. These anti-hierarchy approaches sometimes appear as Holacracy, DevOps, or sometimes just “purpose driven organizations.”
As Marc Andreessen of leading venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz famously proclaimed, “software is eating the world.” Now it seems software is having general business practices and managers for dessert.
This year we are going to explore what is real and what is just hype in these trends and management approaches. This is a huge topic, one that matters for all sorts of businesses and even for cities and governments. It is fundamental if you want to attract the best and brightest in the US these days, either as employees or customers.
The time seems right to have this conversation. Longtime TEP participant Christoph Keese described the wave of new ideas, concepts, and technologies coming from the US across the world in his 2014 book Silicon Valley. Books and articles like Sprint by Jake Knapp, Agile by Darrell Rigby, and Do More Faster by Techstars founders David Cohen and Brad Feld are being translated into other languages now. Even the Harvard Business Review has published many articles on Holacracy and DevOps. Global businesses outside the US will soon get a closer look into where and how general management will develop in the twenty-first century. This year at TEP we’ve brought in successful software entrepreneur Evan Powell to share his observations on the cultural shift in the way technology is built and run–a shift that is transforming businesses world-wide.
TEP has always aimed for impact—real tangible signs of progress. We have helped many startups with their first steps into the US market by supporting them in getting funding or just helping them learn how to run a better business and get more traction. What are we most proud of? Probably the Start Alliance by our longtime partner Berlin Partner. The first companies are starting to leverage closer city collaboration through the alliance to expand faster and cheaper than ever; see page 3.
Many of these thought leaders you will meet at the 2016 TEP conference in New York. As always, we’d like to be measured by the single word, sentence or person that you not heard or met before and that profoundly changed the way you think about business, government or maybe life—the right size of ambition for New York City. Welcome to the 2016 TEP conference!