244 Digital and Analog Businesses with Robert Siegel, VC and Author of “The Brains and the Brawn Company”


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Most businesses are now a hybrid of analog and digital. The question is, how do we get the right mix? Also, how do we know what and when to digitally transform, or keep parts of our business analog? These are just some of the questions that board CEOs and executive teams are grappling with. In this episode of Follow your Different, Robert Siegel will help us get a better grasp at it. Robert Siegel is a Venture Capitalist and a Stanford lecturer. He has a new book out called The Brains and Brawn Company, and it cracks open many of these kinds of questions. It also provides real research and insight from leading companies in their respective industries, coupled with Robert’s years in Silicon Valley and the entrepreneurial world. If you're building companies today, or you want to build a legendary company heading into the future, you're going to love everything about our dialogue. Robert Siegel on Digital Transformation Digital Transformation seems to have become a catch-all phrase that people in the industry use to describe new technology or migrating certain things online. While it may not seem like much of an issue. It becomes a problem when the supposed “experts” start suggesting that undergoing a Digital Transformation should be done ASAP to improve your company. “I think that what I've learned in my time as a venture capitalist, and also in the teaching that I do at Stanford, is that digital transformation is kind of necessary, but not sufficient. That the world that we're living in, is increasingly a blend of digital and physical. And so if you only talk about digital transformation, everything talks about the ones and zeros. Everyone talks about software and connectivity. But people forget, we actually live in a physical world.” – Robert Siegel The Brain and Brawn Company We then get into the discussion of Robert’s new book, The Brain and Brawn Company. Robert explains that having both Brain and Brawns is necessary for a company. The Brain being the creative and analytical aspects of business, as well as the digital parts of it. While the Brawn is the physical aspects, like dealing with logistics, manufacturing, and such. So the optimal setup is having a good mix of “brains” and “brawn” in your company. According to Robert, they don’t deal with those who wish to have a pure digital software platform, because that is not a sustainable model. “Those companies aren't going to be successful as we get into a world where things are increasingly blended between digital and physical, and every product and service that we make is connected. And every industry is going to be impacted from not only things like mobility, but healthcare, financial services, there really is education, there isn't an industry that won't be impacted by this blend of digital and physical.” – Robert Siegel Of course, there are business that can go pure digital, but companies in general still need a good blend of digital and analog systems in place to function efficiently. The Right Mix of Digital and Analog That said, what is a good mix of digital and analog for a business? According to Robert, it depends for each business. One of the things to look at is how different systems work in your company. After understanding them, find out if going digital can improve the service, or make it more efficient in the long run. Of course, there are certain aspects that still need analog aspects, even within digital spaces. Take for instance ordering online. While the whole thing can be made digital nowadays, there are still analog competencies like logistics and customer experience that need to be accounted for. Or the opposite can also be true, like adding digital improvements to delivery tracking, so that customers know the real-time location of their on-going delivery. So in the end, it’s best to find the right mix for your own company. To hear more from Robert Siegel and how to find the right mix of digital and analog in your business,

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