“Work from World” — Global citizenship makes it possible for entrepreneurs to make their careers from anywhere and anytime in the world by using their capacities and up-to-date technologies. Modern-day entrepreneurs will be seen as “Digital & Entrepreneur Nomads,” meaning they can “Work from World” because it is their office everywhere they go.
There have been major disruptions in recent years that promise to change the very nature of work. From the ongoing shifts caused by the COVID19 pandemic, the impacts caused by automation, and other possible disruptions to the status quo, many wonder what the future holds in terms of employment. For example, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute that estimated automation will eliminate 73 million jobs by 2030.
To address this open question, we reached out to successful leaders in business, government, and labor, as well as thought leaders about the future of work to glean their insights and predictions on the future of work and the workplace.
As a part of this interview series called “Preparing For The Future Of Work”, we had the pleasure to interview Dr. James Nitit Mah.
Dr. James Nitit Mah founded Intellegend Inc. after gaining extensive experience in marketing and managing for global companies. He aimed to help businesses prosper by treating people as the most valuable resource. Most investment firms consider capital to be the most valuable resource.
Dr. Mah is a successful entrepreneur and has numerous academic degrees. He is one of the few individuals who have made significant global contributions in the fields of diabetes control, eyesight enhancement and overall body transformation. He has received U.S. patents for products in all three areas in a little more than a year — a significant achievement.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?
I am a self-made entrepreneur born to a middle-class family near the end of the Baby Boom and the beginning of Generation X. At that time, the middle class valued higher education, degrees from top universities, and job titles in a big company. Dreaming big is discouraged while being humble and knowing your place is like a basic rule for those without a good connection and social capital. But I never go by that rule. Although being born in an Asian country where English is not widely spoken gives me limited opportunities in life, I never give up. When I was teenager, I was confident that I could be whatever I wanted to be if I planned correctly, took wise action and was sincere. I am lucky to have the right mindset that cultivates my success — to be a wealthy guy, you should invest in yourself to become your own boss. Also, starting a more creative, new, and unique business than others will increase your chances of success.
What do you expect to be the major disruptions for employers in the next 10–15 years? How should employers pivot to adapt to these disruptions?
I believe that a disruption does not take 10–15 years to happen, but it can take just one night to bring us several types of unpredictable chaos in the morning. There are three types of disruptions:
- Economic disruption — The world’s mighty nations are being affected by the geopolitical impact, which means their economic prosperity will likely slow down in an unpredictable world.
- Technology disruption — We are now witnessing how rapidly technology has been changing and advancing. Moore’s Law states that technological advancement maintains its growth at an exponential rate. Those who do not take on technology seriously will be left behind quickly.
- Disease disruption — The global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in 2020 suddenly claimed millions of lives and caused damage to companies worldwide, forcing them to go out of business.
I told my staff to prepare for the 3 disruptions, and my stakeholders informed me of the potential disruptions. I continuously develop a contingency plan to ensure a backup option for my business if an unexpected event happens. I believe that modern-day entrepreneurs should devise backup strategies for their businesses, or they may not have a good chance of survival.
The choice as to whether or not a young person should pursue a college degree was once a “no-brainer”. But with the existence of many high-profile millionaires (and billionaires) who did not earn degrees, as well as the fact that many graduates are saddled with crushing student loan debt and unable to find jobs it has become a much more complex question. What advice would you give to young adults considering whether to go to college?
At present, education is not restricted to only universities. The Internet did not exist when I was young, so learning new things was limited to higher academic institutions and libraries. Young people can now learn anything from the internet in the digital age. However, you can invest in best-in-class education if you can afford it. Suffice it to say that you can learn from everywhere because there are plenty of choices. But you need to learn from credible sources that deliver accurate information for the sake of yourself and your career growth. And more importantly, do not take it too personally if you got a good degree from a top-ranking university but still have not used it for anything. Be proud when you can make clever use of that knowledge to help yourself and others.
Despite the doom and gloom predictions, there are, and likely still will be, jobs available. How do you see job seekers having to change their approaches to finding not only employment, but employment that fits their talents and interests?
The world still needs competent people to make progress with impressive jobs. Commonly, talented people with passion will be chosen and will “choose” meaningful and high-paying jobs that fit them well. The world still moves around quality competition and increased productivity, so it is no surprise that many talented people usually get reasonable offers and are approached by leading companies and organizations.
The statistics of artificial intelligence and automation eliminating millions of jobs, appears frightening to some. For example, Walmart aims to eliminate cashiers altogether and Dominos is instituting pizza delivery via driverless vehicles. How should people plan their careers such that they can hedge their bets against being replaced by automation or robots?
Please realize that modern technology has taken a giant leap forward. Most technologies will replace routine and repetitive tasks and significantly reduce human error in the workplace. Suppose you do not grasp the idea of future technology and still do not improve skills automated robots and AI cannot do. In that case, you will inevitably get replaced and disrupted, and eliminated by newer technologies. So, you must learn and improve skills AI cannot do such as creativity, persuasion, communication skills, empathy and sympathy. Beyond these skills, you should pick up some tech knowledge, great vision, and intelligent action to survive disruptive technology and AI.
Technological advances and pandemic restrictions hastened the move to working from home. Do you see this trend continuing? Why or why not?
I agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed employee behavior for good; it gives intelligence that an employee can work alone from home or anywhere without physical contact. It will undoubtedly be a new norm. However, to be a successful modern-day entrepreneur, you must understand this phrase: “Work from the World,” which means having competencies such as global citizenship and gaining technological literacy, creating value for stakeholders, having visions and goal paradigms and adaptive management skills. With all these skills, you can start a business with no limitations and boundaries.
What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support the fundamental changes to work?
I believe that from now on, the New Fundamental will include the following:
- An adaptive mindset — means making it much easier to embrace change and be more resilient, agile, and open to disruptive events to achieve your goals.
- Become tech-savvy — it can save you time from doing useless things, and you can also make good use of technology skills to improve your business.
- Problem-solving skills — since there is no certainty in an ever-changing world and unexpected problems are inevitable. When issues remain unsolved, the goals will not be reached.
- Learn from the Sharing and Contribution Economy — observe how to reasonably provide benefits to everyone in the ecosystem to leverage and support your business and goals.
- Understand customer equity — manage worthwhile customer equity to generate valuable customers to create life-long repeat purchases in your business ecosystem. This way, you can strengthen the consistent growth of your business.
What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employers to accept?
What I found most difficult is the change in the mindset of older people and the understanding and embracing of disruption. Many entrepreneurs believe that doing and thinking the old-fashioned way is enough, and it is not. And it is more important to consider that we are in the world of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity), and those who remain reluctant to accept and adapt to changes will have difficulty in business.
What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employees to accept?
It is difficult for employees who want to secure their positions in big companies but never want to develop their abilities, especially Generation X and Generation Y workers born in the Analog Age. These workers have a higher cost of living, have a slow learning pace, and find it hard to accept rapid technological changes in the world. In the worst cases, workers do not catch up with global trends and do not care to improve themselves because they cannot adapt well to change. This causes great despair among Gen X and Gen Y workers.
The COVID-19 pandemic helped highlight the inadequate social safety net that many workers at all pay levels have. Is this something that you think should be addressed? In your opinion how should this be addressed?
I agree with this statement because living in a safe and protected society is of the utmost importance to people. So, it is understandable that people with low incomes may spend more to defend themselves. The government and generous employers and business owners must provide the necessary support to those in need, and this issue should not be a burden to anyone. Still, it is a collective responsibility for mutual benefit for everyone.
Despite all that we have said earlier, what is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
In modern work, change will be regarded as the center of excellence. When you are aware of and accept change, you can identify problems and even solve them in advance. These days, people have equal opportunities to access knowledge, but awareness to change is a key factor to winning, along with diligence, patience, and constant development. All these factors promote awareness to change. When you are aware of change, you have the knowledge and tools to anticipate and solve business challenges.
Historically, major disruptions to the status quo in employment, particularly disruptions that result in fewer jobs, are temporary with new jobs replacing the jobs lost. Unfortunately, there has often been a gap between the job losses and the growth of new jobs. What do you think we can do to reduce the length of this gap?
To fill the gap, unemployed people must be honest with themselves and make a thorough self-evaluation of their capabilities to determine if they have the skills and competencies needed by the job market. Underqualified people might get a decent job offer, but at last, they will not be able to make it through. Still, it is unfortunate that most unemployed people have a tough time accepting truth and reality. They blame outside forces for their failures before working on self-improvement. As time goes by, newer technology and AI are taking their places. The only way to solve this problem is to improve themselves, keep up with the times and realize how they can efficiently deliver more valued work in their capacity.
Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Top 5 Trends to Watch in the Future of Work?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
The 5 trends are:
1) Digital Commerce and Engagement — Utilizes digital tools to build the sales ecosystem without boundaries, and these tools can simultaneously open new opportunities and intense global competition. Lacking an understanding of a new paradigm of doing business in the digital age would be tough for your company to stay afloat in the business world.
2) Blockchain and Tokenization — Both will transform global financial technology as the emerging trend towards decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens (NFT) started sooner than expected. Not knowing how FinTech works could estrange you from the new-world financial system.
3) Wellness Technology — In the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), this is the noticeable research and development for medical devices, dietary supplements, and aesthetic implants. It is undeniable that advancing wellness technology will soon improve our well-being and increase longevity. The market value of the healthcare business will also double over a year as consumers are willing to pay more for more excellent reliability.
4) Quantum Technology — This technology was introduced after the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Many of the world’s leading tech companies have allocated extra budget to Quantum technology resulting in transformative impact across the globe, including Quantum computing, Quantum simulation, Quantum sensor, and Quantum cryptography.
5) “Work from World” — Global citizenship makes it possible for entrepreneurs to make their careers from anywhere and anytime in the world by using their capacities and up-to-date technologies. Modern-day entrepreneurs will be seen as “Digital & Entrepreneur Nomads,” meaning they can “Work from World” because it is their office everywhere they go.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how this quote has shaped your perspective?
“Knowledge is useless once it wasn’t initiated by thought” is a self-reflection quote I always say to myself and others because we are in the world of Information Overload, Knowledge Overflow. This right mindset is the only thing to guide and motivate you to do things right and build good traits to become a better person. However, many people misunderstand the meaning of “mindset” as a vague inspiration that is all about positive thinking and staying optimistic. Through my lens, having only optimism without taking action is just a daydream. There are people with a toxic positivity mindset who are aimless and doing nothing significant in life. So, I want to suggest that it is fundamental to have the right mindset and as the key to success.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Because there are abundant brilliant people in the world, but he inspires us to act on the global climate crisis. We have witnessed the adverse effects on the environment that humans pay for the price of globalization, such as global warming, greenhouse effect, and natural disasters resulting from climate change. That is why I respect Al Gore for his unwavering activism on environmental protection to create a sustainable future for our next generation.
Our readers often like to follow our interview subjects’ careers. How can they further follow your work online?
They can follow me at my LinkedIn: James Nitit Mah James Nitit Mah | LinkedIn
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.