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Allan’s Digital Blog.

Hi! I’m Allan Thomas Chiulli and I created DigElearn to help you Win in the Digital Tornado — the rapid career obsolescence created by digital transformation.

My Digital Blog provides insights into the latest happenings, events and trends in Digital Transformation. After all, Digital Transformation is rapid and accelerating! So, none of us can afford to sit back and rest on our current knowledge and perspective.

And, as you know, the human, business and career side of Digital Transformation is just as important (and even more impactful) than the technology disruption. So, we’ll try to keep you up-to-date on all of these amazing developments!

Please enjoy and I hope to hear from you!

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Allan Thomas Chiulli
Author, Educator
Speaker, Entrepreneur

We’ve all seen it happen: An older worker, salt-of-the-earth type, been with the company forever and respected by all, is let go. Sometimes it is called “downsizing”, other times a “reorg” or “restructure”. One factor is almost always the same: The person let go has more gray hair than the people who remain.

This person, optimistic at first, learns that the job search experience is full of frustration — silence is the most common response to their job inquiries. Or, worse, on the occasions a company shows interest, they are eventually told they are “overqualified”. Worst of all, well-meaning friends and relatives tell them: “It’s ageism. It’s a young person’s game today. Maybe you need to lower your sights and start over.”

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Fintech (technology supporting financial services) remains a popular area for startup activity and funding. The areas encompassed by fintech include wealth management, insurance, lending, mortgages, real estate, money transfers and remittances, capital markets, payments and billing, personal finance, reg tech and cryptocurrencies. While the hot area(s) of investment in fintech shift back and forth, the enthusiasm for fintech deals and funding continues to grow. The disruption of your money has begun!

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One of the most amazing things about the Digital Age is its “convergence”, that is, how digital technologies and new business models blend together to create new products and services. Sometimes, the change is interesting, but limited in impact, such as Uber combining ride-sharing and food delivery to create UberEats.

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I recently had a meeting with two senior executives at a very well-respected firm located in Austin TX. These are my favorite kind of meetings: The topic of the meeting was how to do something together that makes a “Big Impact”. And, by Big Impact, we mean that this project would have a significant positive impact on their company, their specific area of the business, their clients and their client’s clients. A win that helps everyone up and down the line. Lastly, by extension, and unspoken, the Big Impact would also help advance their careers in this company.

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One of the things I enjoy as an author is that I get to talk to a lot of senior executives about their business. As you can imagine, I naturally steer the conversation to their digital transformation strategy.

Sometimes, we get into great conversations about what the cutting edge is and where it is going. Other times, my jaw drops to the floor in exasperation. For example, I had a recent conversation with an executive that I have a great respect for, but who told me: “Well, we do not know where digital transformation is heading. So, our plan is to wait until it is clear and then be a fast follower.”

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Most people, in an interview, emphasize their experience, accomplishments, honors and education. After all, a person should rightfully be proud of who they are and what they have accomplished. Therefore, it appears to make sense to focus on these areas in an interview, sprinkle in a few questions about the company and its competitors and conclude, at the end of the interview, “That went well!”

Unfortunately, the idea that most of this interview is backwards-looking usually never enters their mind. It is only after never hearing back from the company again does one begin to suspect something went wrong, but this silence does not enable a person to pinpoint exactly what went wrong. In fact, it is likely that the questions this person did NOT ask is what ruined their chances. Worst of all, no one will tell them this. In the end, sadly, this person is certainly qualified, but probably still unemployed.

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I walk into the Capital Factory, a start-up incubator in downtown Austin TX, on a Tuesday afternoon. The first thing that strikes you is the incredible energy in the place. In many ways, this is a marketplace of new ideas, but the ambience resembles a Middle Eastern bazaar: Lots of noise, movement and energy as people and ideas fly back and forth. The second thing that strikes you is that this is a young crowd. The old 1960’s hippie adage “Don’t trust anyone over 30” seems in vogue. People older than 30 are rare – they must be the mentors who help the young entrepreneurs. In fact, to a Silicon Valley crowd, 35 is the age where founders, in entrepreneurial terms, are considered over the hill!

An afternoon at the Capital Factory would lead you to believe that entrepreneurship is a young person’s game. The media plays up this stereotype by highlighting the disheveled, metro looks and attitudes of young newly-minted unicorn billionaires. Button down collars and three-piece suits are foreign to this crowd. Tom Agan at the New York Times article summed up most people’s expectations as follows:

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Sometimes, one must title their blog and then duck, or they might get hurt. What do you mean it’s not ageism, it’s me? And, how in the world is this good news? The blowback can be pretty harsh, but you can’t solve a problem if you cannot properly define it. And, I am speaking from my own experience, my own denial, my own pain and my own coming to grips with a new understanding.

Thus, I stick to my title. And it is Good News! You see, many people over 40 (and especially over 50) see ageism is a major threat to their careers and livelihood. Others over 60 are just trying to hang on until retirement. Somehow, during this experience, those claims that 50 is the new 30 don’t ring true. It’s not a pretty sight when a company lets an older person go. This person may face extended unemployment, underemployment, having to start over and worry about what tomorrow brings. Bills pile up while paychecks don’t. The financial and emotional pressure can become severe.

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A good definition provides a clear picture of what an asset or concept is (and, by extension, what it isn’t). It is something you can cut out, tape to the bottom of your computer screen and stare at every time you feel you are losing your way. The best definitions are prescriptive, not descriptive, and provides actionable insight.

I struggled with the definition of digital transformation as I was writing my book on digital transformation, Winning in the Digital Tornado. I traversed Wikipedia, technology publications, management consultants and respected bloggers, but could not find a definition that placed its finger on the essence of this term. Yet, it was only as I approached completion of my book that I began to realize the flaw inherent within the existing definitions. My journey, however, was enlightening:

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