Mediaplanet sat down with Canadian entrepreneur and technology expert Ryan Holmes. As the Founder and Chairman of Hootsuite, Ryan shared insights into his history in the technology industry, challenges about our digitized future, and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
How are technology and software innovations changing the workplace?
When I started Hootsuite back in 2009, it was a very different world with fewer tools available. In 2021, remote work is becoming the norm, Web 3.0 is around the corner, and the demand for employer transparency is continuing to surge. New waves of disruption like cryptocurrencies and community tokens are challenging the way that collaboration is done on a global scale. Instead of meeting for coffee, people zoom. Instead of forming companies, people are forming decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). And instead of university grads taking full-time jobs, they’re becoming full-time creators. Many Gen Zers have mastered the art of social media relationship-building, and it’ll be fascinating to see how many of them earn an income bracket from a portion of the creator economy in the years to come.
Our world is becoming increasingly more digitized. What do you think the biggest challenge is to this?
The world of digital can be a challenging balancing act at times. A 15-year-old can launch a Kickstarter video to start a shoe company and another 15-year-old can get too attached to the idea of keeping up with social media trends. I think the bottom line is ensuring that we use technology to improve and enhance our lives. We need to encourage technologies that accelerate relationships, not hinder them. And wherever possible, we should leverage tech to democratize access to innovative ideas, and with that, the ability to see them through.
As a successful entrepreneur, what’s one piece of advice you would give to all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
There’s never been a better time to take your first step, run with an idea, and see what happens. Starting my first business in high school, I was a sponge for any advice I could get my hands on. Now with a global domain of information, relationship, and validation tools at our fingertips, there’s never been a lower cost of entry when it comes to becoming an entrepreneur. Regardless of a person’s age, background, or experience, never disqualify an idea. Flesh it out, build some momentum, and see where it leads. It makes for a powerful resume-builder and a fun story down the road. Two great resources for entrepreneurs that I’m involved with are The League of Innovators — my charity aimed at accelerating young entrepreneurs — and Kernal, a community for ideating business concepts.
Where do you see the future of social networks going?
I actually dove deep into this topic in my latest book, Saving Social: The Dysfunctional Past and Promising Future of Social Media. There’s no denying that social media is here to stay. It continues to be a crucial part of how we communicate, share ideas, and do business. However, there’s still room for a lot of improvement and I anticipate the future of social networks to be decentralized and more transparent for users. Platforms like BitClout, a social network built on a custom blockchain that’s decentralizing social, are a great example of this. Each person has their own coin, called a “creator coin,” and the coin is set at a value determined by the market. The “market,” however, is the public’s perception of that creator. I believe that user experiences like this that give back the transparency and voting power to the user will be the future.