Recently I had the privilege of speaking at an event for young marketers looking to future-proof their career. One of the questions asked was, “What is the one thing that someone should do to give themselves the competitive advantage.” My answer, is to a large part the inspiration for this piece. The best way to stay ahead of the game is to understand the business of search, and social media, as a whole. This will allow you to predict with stunning accuracy what lies ahead. Because companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others to come are not building these gargantuan platforms out of the goodness of their heart. It’s a data business, and your personal data is the key to their success. The more the better. Recent sentiment towards centralisation of anything (think Blockchain craze) reveals an underlying mistrust of the corporations that hold our finance, transactions and information in their hands for profit. Needless to say, banks are regularly being hacked these days, and so finance and data – our modern economy’s two most valuable commodities, after time – are making our society feel increasingly uneasy. Technology is beginning to provide a solution for us that allows for decentralisation of money and data. In the world of sales and marketing we rely on centralised data to inform us about where our potential customers are, how they behave online and offline, and how we can best tailor our messages and products to them.