Value #4 Business and Digital Disruption: Professional Experience

Fidget Spinners.

I want one.  After all what better mindless activity can I find that will keep me amused for hours that requires little or no skill.  And who knows, maybe I can get a premium one made of matt aluminum alloy that has lights so I can really get into it?

For all the controversy that is as predictable, like the corrupting power of the hula hoop in one single season in the 1950’s, or so said parents concerned about the perceived link between sex and toys, fads in children’s lives come and go.  My only disappointment is that Alessio, my grandson, aged 2, is too young to take part in it or I would have sufficient rationalization to jump on the bandwagon and endeavor to remain a cool gramps.

Excesses are seemingly hardwired into us.  Whether it is blockchain currencies, or Toronto real estate prices, or for that matter the recent plunge in oil prices, the madness of the masses and whole industries that promulgate the trends are part of the human condition.

But I am no more able to tell you how long excess can exist or what the post-excess fallout might look like than you can.  Many of us easily spot excess but that is more of an observation of the human psyche.

I have a commentary written about Blackberry that I leave up to keep me humble.  Living in my own cognitive dissonance I jumped into a Blackberry Z10 believing that it would solve all my answers, eschewing an iPhone 5.  I lost out on two key realities.  One, iPhone, by comparison, was a breeze to learn and use.  Secondly, I started to understand the disruptive nature of technology, particularly mobile technology, first hand.

Linda, life and business partner, used to tell our adult children that we were expecting a letter to Santa and that whatever they asked for had to be available on Queen Street between University and Dufferin.  This year, half on a lark, we told them that if it wasn’t available on Amazon they weren’t getting it and to send us their wish lists.

The process of ordering, wrapping and labelling was done in about 1 ½ hours from the comfort of the den, for 4 adult children, 2 significant others and finally a grandchild.  The hardest part was the daily stop at the concierge in our condo to retrieve the boxes, unpack them and put them under the tree.

Where professional experience plays a role is knowing when a trend is real and being smart enough, credentials notwithstanding, to be able to step back and admit that you don’t know and dig deeper into cause and effect.

The same is true of history repeating itself.  Yes, it does, but never the same way in the same place twice.  Yet, I work in an industry that constantly points to the past as if surely will repeat itself.  We’ve had almost nine years of record low interest rates and many of us made the mistake of believing, simply because it has in the past, that interest rates would eventually rise.  9 years in and maybe, just maybe, we’re finally seeing the signs of reversal.  There’s a reason regulators force us to use an expression akin to “past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns” when talking about returns.

I am fortunate enough to have a formal education in business.  I am blessed with an insatiable curiosity.  And I know, if I relax and leave myself in an environment that is constantly changeable and fluid that I won’t lock myself into some sort of intellectual brain freeze.  After all, dogma once suggested that all swans were white or that the earth was flat.

Being a professional in an age of digital disruption means abandoning the academic and entrenched biases in our business communicating observations in new ways and in new mediums.

Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.