Do not transform things into a digital format

A very common assumption is that digitalization means making things digital. We take for instance a presentation, and make it on Zoom instead. We take a manual, or a book, and make it into a PDF-file instead. But here is a good example showing that digitalization means something far more, and different, than that.

I got this picture from a colleague of mine a couple of months ago. It is a photo from one of the physical book-stores that Amazon is running on the west-coast of USA. Take a close look to it. You find signs like “If you like…You´ll love” on the bookshelf in that store.

Normally, in a physical bookstore, they categorize books in different sections. So they put history books besides each other, and biographies besides each other, and so forth. They do that for an historical reason. It is the historical way librarians prefer to categorize books.

But why do they actually do that? Is that really the way you tend to buy books?

What Amazon today do, on their website, is something different. They categorize books in relation to how people buy them. This is the reason why you fairly often also get fairly good suggestions on what to by next, ones you have chosen a certain book. They are able to do this because they have knowledge on how all of us tend to buy books.

Without an e-shop they would never have been able to understand all that about us. And in particular: they would not have been able to do something like this with such kind of knowledge.

In this physical bookstore you find a similar way for categorizing books as they have on their website. And I guess; It is not unlikely you also would be interested in buying that “other book” too, simply because that is what other people before you have done.

So what you see here in front of you is a physical representation on what they provide you with on their site.

We will see far more of this kind of “effect” in the future.

The power within the digital development is now already so strong that it even gradually is changing the way we handle the world we often call IRL. And this is a consequence showing how tremendously much more there is into the word “digitalization” than just making things digital.

Don´t assume things to be finished ones you have transformed your product, or service, into a digital format. It is more likely the moment in time when everything begins.


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