Work as interaction
Esko Kilpi

Thank you Esko for sharing another piece of insight and foresight into the future of work. I see in your portrait the seeds of a bright future for labor in the internet era. Your analogy of language and products is striking: products are the collective expression of the humans who build them. That’s the first insight. The second one, built upon the first, is that the true import of an expression depends on a rich context in the mind of the recipient. Businesses, then, will succeed on the strength of their ability to understand or create that context, which then enables the creation of value.

It reminds me of a famous quote from Steve Jobs, who advised designing products as follows: “Start with the customer experience and work backwards.”

This approach sounds like a tall order, but if it ultimately proves the “core competency” that allows some businesses to thrive while others fail, so much the better. I’d much prefer a future economy populated by businesses trying to outcompete each other on empathy with their customers — businesses who recognize that value lies in energizing interaction with customers, as you say— than one in which firms’ laborers are increasingly subordinated to the needs of a customer poorly understood.

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