Innovation Junkies Podcast

Charlie Oliver on the Power of Technology

Charlie Oliver, CEO of Tech 2025, joins the Jeffs to talk about how companies can harness the power of technology. They discuss creating a culture of innovation across a company, post-pandemic innovation, and trends that will come between now and 2025.

Charlie Oliver: It’s not just about having innovation departments or innovation challenges where everybody comes in and gives a great idea, and then somebody… You know? It’s about letting people take ownership of the ideas that they have and then incentivizing them to run with it.

Jeff Standridge: This is Jeff Standridge, and this is the Innovation Junkies podcast. If you want to drastically improve your business, learn proven growth strategies, and generate sustained results for your organization, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the Innovation Junkies podcast.

Jeff Standridge: Hey, guys. Welcome to another episode of the Innovation Junkies podcast. My name’s Jeff Standridge.

Jeff Amerine: Hey. And this is Jeff Amerine. Happy New Year. Glad to be back for another episode.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah. How are you doing, man?

Jeff Amerine: You know? I can’t complain. The sun is shining. It’s not below zero outside. It’s all good.

Jeff Standridge: How are the dogs and the goats?

Jeff Amerine: The dogs and the goats are separated by a fence that’s hopefully impenetrable at this point because the dogs seem to view the goats and the sheep as chew toys for some reason.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah. Yeah.

Jeff Amerine: Can’t figure out.

Jeff Standridge: So very good. So Jeff, the goat herder.

Jeff Amerine: That’s it. Or goat roper.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah. I think of a song— High on the hills to the lonely goatherd. No. I’m kidding you. What was that? Sound of Music. Wasn’t it? Yeah, that’s it. So I think about you every time I hear that song. Or actually, maybe I hear that song every time I think about you and goats.
All right. Let’s talk about our guests today. We have a fabulous lady that we’re going to visit with today named Charlie Oliver. She started her first tech startup in 2007, which was a web video platform for talk shows, followed by the launch of Served Fresh Media in 2009. And she’s been helping professionals understand and harness the power of advanced disruptive technology. She’s the CEO of Tech 2025, which she launched in 2017. We’re going to learn a little more about that when we talk to Charlie Oliver. Charlie, thank you for being on this today.

Charlie Oliver: Hi. Thank you for having me. This is awesome. Looking forward to it.

Jeff Amerine: Charlie, thanks for coming on.

Charlie Oliver: Hey.

Jeff Amerine: One of the things we’d like to do as an icebreaker before we get too far off into innovation and strategy and all the kind of typical stuff we talk about is we’re going to pose this question to you. If you could be in a fictional family on TV or otherwise, what family would that be?

Charlie Oliver: That’s a great question. And I know that I could… God. I think I can give several answers. You know? The first one I’m going to say is The Brady Bunch. Right? I don’t know. You can tell I’m a Gen Xer. Right?

Jeff Standridge: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlie Oliver: And as a kid, especially as a black girl, looking at them, they had everything. There were no real problems. It was just like little silly stuff. And I always wondered what it was like. You know? Well, if I was in this great family that was blended… I was an only child. So that appeals to me. Or The Jetsons.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah. Because who didn’t want the flying car, right?

Jeff Standridge: Yeah.

Jeff Amerine: Yes.

Charlie Oliver: Yeah. Well, that’s the only way we’re going to get the flying car at this point because the promise of the flying car has been in the making for like since the beginning of time. So yeah. I know. The Jetsons because as a kid… Again, this hearkens back to my childhood. And as a kid, again, I mean, I’m a futurist now. I think I was a futurist then. I loved the visions of the future. And I mean, we could go into sort of the films, but I think about that cartoon as getting me to ask questions about the future. And I wondered, “Well, why doesn’t he work? Does all he does is press buttons?

Jeff Standridge: Yeah. How can I get some of that?

Charlie Oliver: How can I get some of that? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jeff Standridge: And The Brady Bunch actually was prophetic. They were proficient in Zoom, probably the first family that was proficient in Zoom. Right?

Jeff Amerine: Oh yeah. They had the whole Hollywood squares layout for the opening of the show. Right?

Jeff Standridge: That’s right. That’s right.

Charlie Oliver: Right. Right. You see what I’m saying? I mean, if we look back and we think about it, they had it going on. I might have to rewatch The Brady Bunch to look for other signs.

Jeff Amerine: And you know what? I tell you what. We all learned everything we needed to learn about middle-born children from watching Jan Brady. Right?

Jeff Standridge: Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.

Charlie Oliver: Marcia. And by the way, Jan Brady perfectly defined and sort of encompassed Gen X, Right?

Jeff Standridge: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Charlie Oliver: Everybody gets forgets about Gen X. They do all these research studies. You know? Millennials are the biggest group, and Baby boomers have the most money. And Gen Z is the most pissed off. And then, it’s like Gen X who? Except that we created a lot of this stuff too. So I don’t know. Yeah.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah. No doubt. No doubt. Jeff, what about you? What’s your-

Jeff Standridge: So I too am a Gen Xer. And so I have a family of years past and then a family that’s kind of years present. Right? So the family of years past, it’s not really a family because they’re not blood-related, but they had to become a family, but it would be Gilligan’s Island family.

Charlie Oliver: Oh.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah. You know?

Jeff Amerine: Would you be the Professor? Or like the Professor’s helper? Or what exactly?

Jeff Standridge: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Well, I would probably be closer to Gilligan.

Charlie Oliver: Really?

Jeff Standridge: But they had Survivor figured out before Survivor even existed. Right?

Jeff Amerine: Yeah.

Jeff Standridge: But yeah. Gilligan’s Island was probably my all-time favorite TV show, followed closely by Andy Griffith and Gomer Pyle.

Charlie Oliver: Oh.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah, yeah.

Jeff Amerine: Oh yeah. Yeah.

Charlie Oliver: Okay.

Jeff Standridge: Now, however, my family, my real family growing up, didn’t act the same way, but they looked like they belonged on the set of Yellowstone.

Charlie Oliver: Oh.

Jeff Standridge: A lot of cattle farmers and rodeo-ers, and what have you.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah. Yeah. We used to joke about wanting to be a rodeo clown. Right? That was-

Jeff Standridge: Yeah. That wasn’t a joke. That wasn’t a joke, man. How about you?

Jeff Amerine: Well, no. It’s good. I was sitting here as we were going back in time a little bit. I’ve been accused of learning all my parenting skills from watching The Simpsons. And there have been times when Homer Simpson’s words are coming out of my mouth talking to my son. So The Simpsons is probably what other people would say. But I also liked the original show that was on called Lost in Space.

Charlie Oliver: Oh. I loved that show.

Jeff Amerine: And with Robby the Robot, now there’s a whole another series that’s out. But that original show from the ’60s, Lost in Space, right during the time when we had the Apollo launches and all that was going on with the space program, was always captivating to me. I liked that idea of being on some grand adventure out in space flying ships. And kind of gets to the Jetsons thing, the whole sort of futurist sort of thing, I think.

Charlie Oliver: Yeah. Well, Star Trek was my favorite.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah. Well, another one. Another great one.

Jeff Standridge: You know? I never became a Trekkie. I don’t know why. I didn’t.

Charlie Oliver: It’s a good thing I didn’t know that before the show. I would’ve declined the invite. I’m sorry.

Jeff Standridge: I was too busy watching The Fonz.

Jeff Amerine: Ay.

Charlie Oliver: Ay.

Jeff Standridge: All right. Well, Charlie, let’s shift gears a little bit. Tell us a little bit about you and Tech 2025.

Charlie Oliver: Oh, okay. Well, I’m Charlie Oliver. I’m the founder and CEO of Tech 2025, which is a company that I launched in January of 2017, ironically to prepare people for what’s happening right now. It is the offshoot of Served Fresh Media, which is a digital media marketing agency that I launched way back in 2008, and that was to help companies figure out how to get into digital media marketing, how to sort of use technologies and platforms like social media to their benefit smartly, and to get their employees engaged. And so I would help them with branding and marketing, and we worked with them on live events and everything. It’s been a blast.
But in 2016, I realized that it was a change coming. I know that we all know that I’ve worked in tech since 2008. And I saw this through the eyes of my clients, my enterprise clients at that time. And it was the look of terror, literally. And they would ask me, “Charlie, what is with this AI machine learning? How are we going to sort of get our organizations up to speed? What’s going to be required of us?” I think definitely by that time, companies, enterprise companies, were beginning to realize, “Okay. Change is coming, and we’re not prepared for it. And how do we do that?”
And so my response to them was always, “Well, this time, this is different. This is not going to be the bottom, top-down innovation we’re talking about. You’re going to have to learn how to go bottom-up and talk to the rest of your organization and get your employees to participate substantively.” At that time, I know that these companies were not structured for that, and at least with my clients, I know they didn’t feel the need to do that.
With Tech 2025, I said, “I am definitely going to address that need and talk to people about these emerging technologies that are coming and that they have got to get on board with this really quickly and find the opportunities and stake their claim, and understand what’s happening and co-develop these technologies.” And not only that but doing it in a way that sort of was inclusive. So when we came on the scene, I worked in tech for years, so I was used to seeing at events the hoodie cut crowd. The young white guys with hoodies and the software. And that’s fine. That’s all well and good, but it was never a diverse crowd. And so what we did was we showed that you’ve got to have a 70-year-old sitting next to a 20-year-old if you are discussing AI machine learning if you really want to sort of mitigate the problems that could be coming, implementing these things, and really get people to understand the potential of technologies.
And so to that end, there are a few things that happened in 2016 that really kind of pissed me off, to be honest with you, and that was the impetus for me launching. And when I say pissed me off, I’m speaking specifically with regards to AI and the technologies and things that we were developing at that time that made me say, “Okay. I don’t know where my solution is going, but I’ve got to get out there and sort of get people to understand that by 2025, that was the benchmark.” I can tell you why I chose that year. That by 2025, You’ve got to have your ducks in a row by then or you’re going to get run over or left behind. And I’d say that and know in certain terms at events.

Jeff Standridge: And so tell us a little bit about your clients and how you work with clients to help them kind of harness the power of technology.

Charlie Oliver: Okay, great. So what happens is… I’ll give you a couple of examples. I work with clients. Primarily, I’ll have companies come to me and say one or two things, either we either need you to come in or need you to come in and sort of work with our teams to get them to understand how to think about and learn about these technologies. So that’s the first thing, which is that it’s a continuous learning process and a way that companies really aren’t used to doing, historically. Right?
I mean, L&D companies, it’s very different today than it was just five years ago. Okay? And there are so many changes happening, so many things happening quickly. As you know, everything’s accelerating. And now, because of the pandemic, it’s been crazy. That’s not just getting their employees to continuously want to learn, but to understand the potentials of the technology so that they can help them, I would say, develop them and check them. In other words, ask questions, understand what’s going on. Maybe look at this through the lens of being a parent or a mother who’s sitting at home with her kids or at the office all day, or whatever the case may be.
So I come in a learning capacity with my team. We bring in experts as well, which is really important. That’s one thing. We also sort of create these think tanks with managers where we sort of get them to think about and solve problems beyond what they usually do and how they usually do it, which is actually a really profound thing because that’s how we started Tech 2025; with think tanks; ordinary people. So I tell companies that we are in a position to ask the questions, the hard questions, and to help them to explore those questions in a way that they are not, or historically have not been. Right?
So right now we have, let’s say, for example, a client who’s saying to us… And this is a true story, by the way. I’m not going to name the client, but we have a great client, a wonderful company. They somehow fell behind. A lot of companies realize, “Hey, look. What the hell happened?” You know? All of a sudden, we’re not automated enough. We’re not this enough. And this particular company, they have been disrupted by a company that was just launched back in 2016, ’17. Now that company is eating their lunch with open software and the CEO is going, “Well, what happened? What’s going on?” And so they are engaging us to help them to understand how to look at and think about and forecast the future.
What I say to them is that it’s not enough for the executives to do that anymore. You’ve got to sort of embed that culture of futurism throughout the entire organization. Everybody should understand how to look at the future and see the trends coming, and really understand how to respond to them and not react because there’s a difference. So that’s another thing.
And then, a lot of times, I’ll get called in to sort of help them to understand how to articulate a particular product, a technology product, to their customers. They want to make sure that they are talking about these things, especially when it comes to technologies that are a little more, as they say, “woo woo.” Right? So I’ll work with product teams as well. That’s really fun. But yeah. That’s it. Ultimately, you want to empower employees to understand what these technologies are. You want to give them the autonomy and the tools to question these things in a way that’s substantive. And as a matter of fact, with this company that I’m telling you about, the opposite was happening. And so, there’s been a complete lack of innovation in the company.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah. It’s a good segue to another question. So much of what we see is you’ll see innovators that are kind of on an island within a large company. In fact, the classic example is Kelly Johnson and the Skunk Works at Lockheed. They put everybody out in Area 51 and threw big fences around them, and said, “Go invent the future of aviation in ways that no one else can think of.” And who knows? There might have been UFOs in that mix there too. Who knows? But anyway, they’re off on an island, versus, what I think we all aspire to is this culture of innovation that is pervasive across the company. How do you see that going from… You’ve got some isolated innovators. You’ve got this other crew that’s focused on operational excellence. How do you get the behavior changes and the culture to be pervasive in your experience?

Charlie Oliver: That is a great question. You have to start with your purpose and mission. You have to start by asking— what is your purpose and mission in your company? And you have to align employees around that purpose and a mission. And I know it sounds kind of “eh”, but it is absolutely true now more than ever. And again, this company is a great example of that. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Question that even if you feel like you have a strong purpose and mission. I always say you should be questioning that purpose and mission every several months, every six months, at least a couple of times a year.
The other thing is that if you don’t have a culture of innovation, of open innovation, you have some work to do with gaining the trust of the employees who feel shut out of that. You see? So there’s a tendency for executives to, I think, underplay or downplay the impact of telling employees that they are excluded from a process. I know for a fact, actually, that executives think about that and think, “Hey, look. That’s how it’s been done. The executives are here. The innovation team is here. This is that.” What you’ve created, in effect, is a culture of exclusion that has told people for decades that they either aren’t smart enough, or educated enough, or whatever enough to participate in that.
So once you build in that culture of exclusion, what you don’t realize that you’re also doing is that you’re actually minimizing that person’s beings. And this is why we see The Great Resignation. The Great Resignation is not about money. It’s about the fact that you’ve been diminishing my potential for decades. For years you’ve been diminishing my potential and I’m sick of it. And I don’t think that you can realize my full potential. That is what I think The Great Resignation is about, by the way. It’s not about anything other than you can’t even begin to realize my full potential because you’ve been diminishing it for so long.
I’ll give you a perfect example of that with regards to Tech 2025. With Tech 2025, when we first launched in January 2017, I’ve been doing events for ten years. It was no big thing. We were getting people from companies across, up and down the chain in the companies, who would come to us at the end of a long day. And they would come in at six o’clock and listen and then participate in these think tanks. And a lot of people didn’t understand the technology. They didn’t know. A lot did. We have developers and software people and tech people in there too. But I kept hearing from them, “Charlie, no one is asking me what I think about this stuff in my company. I’m not being asked about AI and machine learning. I’m not being talked to about this stuff. I’m not being given the opportunity.”
And so I said all that to say back to my original point, if you’ve been excluding employees from this process for this long, you’re going to have to work like hell to reverse that. And so when we first launched Tech 2025, I had companies coming to me, and I’m talking about enterprise companies coming to me; this was within three months of us launching because people were seeing how we were packing rooms with all kinds of people, of all different backgrounds, to talk about things that were very exotic back then. AI machine learning. No one was really talking about that stuff back then. Certainly not mainstream. And I had people from companies, enterprise companies wanting to partner with us and sponsor us and asking me, “How are you doing this? How are you getting all different kinds of people in these rooms to talk about these complicated topics?”
And I said, “Well, I don’t talk to them like they’re complicated topics.” They are complicated topics, but people are not dumb. There’s a lot smarter than you think they are.

Jeff Amerine: Sure.

Charlie Oliver: Right? Stop talking down to people. So now what you’re asking is how do you reverse that culture in companies, right? It starts at the top. It starts at the top. You have to invest in opening up the process top to bottom and decentralizing a lot of the decision-making. It’s not just about having innovation departments or innovation challenges where everybody comes in and gives a great idea. It’s about letting people take ownership of the ideas that they have and then incentivizing them to run with it. Some companies are very good at that. Others are not. But it comes at a price because you have to trust your employees to do that.
So the first thing that I would ask is, again, “What’s your mission? What’s your purpose? Is everybody really behind that?” Because if they’re not, you’re not going to crack that nut if your employees don’t even believe in your mission. And then, the other thing is what are the system and tools that you’re using that’s either enabling people to participate in innovation or disincentivizing them in some way? So that’s the other thing. And then I would say, again, flattening it out a bit so that people feel more empowered to make decisions and really feel like they can give their feedback because I heard that more than anything from people is that they don’t even feel like they can talk about these things or give their ideas because “I don’t want to look like an idiot at work or lose my job or whatever.”

Jeff Standridge: Yeah.

Charlie Oliver: Right? So anyway, it definitely requires management to be in their uncomfortable zone, and I just think that it’s a reality.

Jeff Amerine: Hey, folks. We’ll be right back with the episode. But first, we want to tell you about a limited opportunity to take advantage of our strategic growth diagnostic. For a short time only, we’re offering a free strategy call to see whether or not our unique diagnostic tool is right for you. Go to\diagnostic to learn more.

Jeff Standridge: So Charlie, you host a podcast called Fast Forward, and it’s dubbed as “The Post-Pandemic Innovation Podcast.” Talk to us about post-pandemic innovation.

Charlie Oliver: That’s a great, great question. I actually came up with that earlier last year because, again, we’ve been preparing people for post-pandemic innovation before the pandemic. I’ve been saying since 2017, 2025 is a sort of a line of demarcation between, let’s say, Web 2.0 and what’s coming. And when I talk about post-pandemic innovation, I’m not just talking about the technologies that we all know now are going to be prevalent and more embedded in society. I’m talking about the mentality of all of us, how it’s going to change, how we think about our very being. Especially when you look at the more immersive technologies that are now being heavily invested in more than ever.
Post-pandemic innovation technologies or post-pandemic innovation period is innovation that’s more democratic. It’s more open. It’s any person’s game. It’s less defined. It’s more accelerated. And it’s more opportunistic in a way that I still don’t think people understand. It’s there. I don’t think we really truly understand the fullness of the opportunities that are ahead of us. You see? So I have people saying to me, “Oh Charlie, you want to make technology more human.” And I know of a lot of people who believe that. I personally don’t. I’d rather use technology as a tool to transcend my humanity than to make technology more human. Right?
So my whole thing is, are we really in this post-pandemic era, which is a very slight sliver of time, it’s a very finite time, and in our evolution, are we going to use this post-pandemic innovation era to really push on our perceived limitations, our real limitations, and really make the most of it? And an example of that is, let’s say, Facebook with metaverse. Are we really going to allow companies to define for us what this next era is? And so we only get one shot at that, and that’s this post-pandemic era. And I think the post-pandemic era, myself, you could say it’s any time after the pandemic. I define it as being now, we’re sort of heading into the post-pandemic era to about 2025, maybe heading more into 2030. But that’s it. I might get people who disagree with me. That’s okay. But that’s how I see it.

Jeff Standridge: That’s good.

Jeff Amerine: You know? One of the other things that we come across is that we have clients in AutoML, AI, and a variety of different technologies. And there’s this democratization where you don’t have to be a data scientist in order to use these tools. Fine. You’re going to enable a business analyst or a marketer or a merchant or someone to use this really amazing collection of models. And it’s in human language, and they can set up the models themselves, and they don’t need the PhDs in data science. And then the question from the executive comes, “Why did we get that answer from the tool?” And your business user’s like, “We don’t have any freaking idea why we got that answer. It does what the tool said.”
And so there’s this debate right now is, does it really make sense to divorce the super high-tech data platforms, AutoML, and AI from the experts, if you will, and make it accessible? Because the people that now have access to it can’t explain why they got the answers they got. What are your thoughts about that? How do you bridge that gap?

Charlie Oliver: Oh.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah.

Charlie Oliver: You know what? And it’s a widening gap, I mean, as the technology, as we sort of accelerate coming out of the pandemic, these weaknesses are problem areas. I think, anyway, we’ll probably be doubling down on that. And here’s a great example of that. Low-code, no-code. So you know the deal with that, right? I mean, we did an event on that a few months ago. And you’ve got all these companies saying, “Yeah. You know? We’re going to…” Gartner,  and a lot of the consultancies, but primarily Gartner is saying, “Oh, there’s going to be millions of apps built by millions of employees. And it’s all going to be using no-code.” Or low-code, although they say no-code.
I think that’s problematic that that’s the narrative that they’re putting out there and that companies are… Now I understand that these tools have been around for a long time, and they’re great. And that’s wonderful. But I also sort of empathize with the IT professionals, managers, people who have to come behind the people who are using the no-code tools and who are just sort of creating or doing what they’re doing even though there are certain systems in place to keep them from really bringing down the house with these tools. But still, you have to have set up in your sort of structure. You can’t implement these tools without being thoughtful about out how you’re going to implement them. You have to have why at the beginning, the end, and the foundation of everything you do.
And if you can’t answer the why, then you have to begin to create a structure. You should have done that, to begin with. When you bring these tools in-house, you have to create a, once you bring them in, a structure of being able to question everything about every part of that process and not just making that questioning open to the experts in-house but making it open and sort of articulating it to ordinary employees who are non-technical because I think that’s a learning opportunity. I don’t think that these companies are actually taking the opportunity to teach the non-technical folks about how to question these things and how to answer them.
And that’s really structural. That’s processes and structure. I’m glad you brought that up because, I mean, this is a problem that I’m fixing with the company, which is, you’ve got to be more thoughtful. Just because it’s the hot new thing and it’s great, and Gartner and all the consultancies say you guys should be doing this— No. You’ve got to create an infrastructure that will allow all kinds of analysis from all kinds of employees up and down and all around that process. And we do not see that type of 360 implementation. I call it a 360 implementation.

Jeff Standridge: So Charlie-

Jeff Amerine: That makes perfect sense.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah. What would you say one or two of the tipping points and trends that you think will come to fruition between now and, say, 2025?

Charlie Oliver: Oh my God. Well, we’re definitely going to see… I mean, Biotech is, I think, that’s going to be the first thing that we’re looking at. Gene editing right now there’s a lot of money being thrown at, I think rightfully so, trying to fix the CRISPR problem. Because it’s not a precise tool. It’s not as precise as we’d like it to be. I think that with what’s going on after the pandemic and us seeing how important it is that we be able to sort of have these tools and be able to use them and rely on them. We see that we have a culture, and I’m just going to say we have a culture of… It’s not anti-science, but I think that it’s been a shock to everyone’s system in this world how people have responded to science and how science has responded to people in this pandemic. Okay.
And I think there is an urgency to develop these technologies in a way that’s going to be sort of as good as they need to be. You know? You want to get it right. And CRISPR is far from perfect. So I think we’re definitely, absolutely going to see gene-editing between now and 2025. We’re going to see major movement there. I think by 2025, it’s going to be in a completely different ball game. And Israel is doing a lot in that space, by the way. There’s a lot of Israeli startups in gene editing, not a lot, but enough. The ones that are there have the money and they’re getting the push and they’re making a lot of headway. So that’s one.
The other thing that I would say is… I mean, let’s be real. Crypto, Web3, blockchain. It sounds kind of ho-hum, but the reality is that when you look at the excitement and the hype, because a lot of it is hype, and the expectations of people right now, where a lot of people are seeing hope, and I’m talking young people too, which is really important, I look at that because that will a lot of times drive where the money goes and what gets developed the quickest. And I think that there’s a general consensus, whether you’re looking at governments, private industry, ordinary people, I think that most would agree that that’s where everyone sees potential for democratization of opportunities for the potential for sort of a new way of us engaging in communities. Communities are going to be driving a lot of what’s happening between now and 2025 and beyond. Right?
And so I really do believe that’s what we’re going to see. Now I’m not saying that I don’t think it’s going to be anywhere near what they’re promising us, but you have to look at how the big tech companies are throwing money at Web3 right now. Okay? And know that they’re doing it for a reason.

Jeff Standridge: Right. Yep. Very good. Very good. So Charlie, tell us quickly as we start to land the plane here, what’s on the horizon for Charlie Oliver and for Tech 2025?

Charlie Oliver: So for Charlie Oliver, if I can just get through this year, I’d be happy. No. I’m excited about this year. I will tell you that I really am. 2021 was a little weird, weird, weird, but 2022, I’m looking forward to. We’re launching a new podcast. We’re launching a series of workshops and events, live and virtual. Right? That’s really going to be doubling down on the next three years, is what we’re calling it. So how are companies and people really planning? How can you really make strategic plans and moves? You should be able to by now. Now in 2017, it was completely different. But by now, people and companies should have a three-year plan to get them between now and 2025, and that’s going to keep their wits about them and keep them informed but keep them focused on whatever their goal is going to be.
So what do you need to know in tech? Where are the opportunities? How do you educate yourself and stay educated? How do you not get blown away by everything that’s about to come, whether it be geopolitical, social, or whatever? So I’m looking forward to that— growing the community and working more with clients because we’re getting a lot of clients coming to us and saying, “Holy crap. Our retention programs aren’t working. Employees are still not really happy. How do we prepare them for what’s coming?” And our solution is you’ve got to get them future skilled. So we’re moving forward with our future skilling of employees, which I’m excited about, which is getting employees up and down the chain to know how to forecast the future, how to see it, how to give it some shape and perspective, how to articulate it, how to tell the stories that they need to tell about it, and then prepare for it.

Jeff Standridge: Fantastic. And the best place for our listeners to find you?

Charlie Oliver: Well, you can email me at But you can also just go to the website, and all my links are there. I’m very responsive on social media. So if you follow me, you can hook up with me on LinkedIn or Twitter. I’m @itscomplicated because it is.

Jeff Amerine: Great Twitter handle.

Jeff Standridge: That’s right. Well, listen.

Jeff Standridge: Charlie, a pleasure. A pleasure visiting with you. Thank you for spending time with us today. And we look forward to maybe talking with you again in the future.

Charlie Oliver: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure. And I look forward to learning more about what you guys are going to be doing in the future too.

Jeff Amerine: You bet. Thanks for coming on.

Jeff Standridge: This has been another episode of the Innovation Junkies podcast. Thank you for joining.

Jeff Amerine: Hey, folks. This is Jeff Amerine. We want to thank you for tuning in. We sincerely appreciate your time. If you’re enjoying the Innovation Junkies podcast, please do us a huge favor. Click the subscribe button right now. Please leave us a review. It would mean the world to both of us. And don’t forget to share us on social media.

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