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Tim Cole

travels from Germany

Expert on eBusiness, social web and IT security making a career as a journalist, book author, TV moderator and speaker

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About Tim

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As an expert on the impact of digital technology and the Internet, keynote speaker Tim Cole is a sought after man. His keynotes cover a wide range of topics and provide insight on e-business, social communication and the future of finance. His objectivity and critical eye has proven valuable in leading European magazines and newspapers, and his ability to evaluate the impact of technology is of great importance in a rapidly changing world.

Tim Cole is an expert on Internet, eBusiness, Social Web and IT Security. Born 1950 in Washington, he has lived in Germany for over 40 years, pursuing a career as a journalist, book author, TV moderator and public speaker. His book “Success Factor Internet”, which was published 1999 in German by Econ, was the first book to describe the impact of digital technology and the Internet on companies and organizations.

In “The Customer Cartel” (2004) he correctly predicted the power shift between customers and vendors in an age of total connectivity. His current book, “Enterprise 2020” forecasts even more far-reaching transformation as digital networks, mobility and total communication become an everyday fact of private and business life.

In 2013, he co-authored “Digitale Aufklärung” (“Digital Enlightenment”) together with Ossi Urchs. Here they describe the fundamental shift from an analog to a digital society and call for new values and rules enabling humans to live a fulfilled life in a society, which is undergoing rapid and fundamental change.

As the former editor of “Net Investor”, a business magazine, as well as a contributor and columnist for a number of leading European newspapers and magazines, he has a proven track record for objectivity and for critically evaluating the impact of technology on business processes and markets. In 2004, Tim Cole co-founded Kuppinger Cole, a leading European analyst group focusing on Identity & Access management (IAM), Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Cloud Security and Mobility.

Tim Cole is frequently asked to give talks and lectures at public and corporate events, and often customizes his talks to fit audiences. His range of topics includes e-commerce and e-business to customer empowerment, social communication, Big Data, the Future of Finance, the Industrial Internet and cognitive computing.

See keynotes with Tim Cole

    A few examples of Tim Cole’s more popular standard speeches:


    Keynote by Speaker Tim Cole

    Enterprise 2020 – the Internet was just the beginning!

    • How to deal with the new customer
    • Digital Transformation and the Age of Acceleration
    • Getting in touch: How the Social Web radically changes Corporate Communication
    • Total Mobility: Welcome the Digital Nomad


    Keynote by Speaker Tim Cole

    Work 2.0

    • Where – and how – will we work tomorrow?
    • The end of the cubicle
    • Why Digital Work is never done
    • SIEM and the future of Knowledge Work


    Keynote by Speaker Tim Cole

    The Future of Intelligence – Intelligence of the Future

    • How cognitive computers will help us think better
    • Wisdom of Crowds: Together we are stronger!
    • What managers can learn from ants
    • Why we need a “Digital Enlightment”

Interview with Tim Cole

What made you interested in the field of technology?

I’ve always been a techie, but I am also very interested in business and economics, so I guess my role in life is to act as a moderator or even a translator between those two worlds, since generally speaking business people don’t understand techies and vice versa. I feel that technology is becoming increasingly crucial to the business success of enterprises; in fact, pull the plug on all those servers and gadgets and your average business today will simply collapse.

On the other hand, engineers and software developers need to better understand what the business side really needs and to create solutions that are easy to understand and use and that really create value for the company. Naturally, the Internet and digitalization are the key factors, and in fact they have changed and will continue to change the way companies do business. Managers need to realize this and try to anticipate how digital transformation will impact their own business models, as well as using technology to reach out to digitally empowered customers – who are very different from your old “analog” customer.

How do you work with clients to prepare your keynotes? 

I try to understand what the client needs. Since some customers aren’t really sure of themselves, this can involve a rather intense discovery process. I hate “canned” speeches, so I prefer to interact with clients in order to create a unique keynote – one that will give the audience the right takeaway.

Do you have a favorite experience from your speaking career?

I remember a speech I gave in front of 2.500 kitchen studio owners in Berlin. A few months earlier, I had bought a kitchen through an app called “Ikea Kitchen Planner”, and when I was finished, it turned out that there was no digital connection between that app and the ordering system at Ikea, so the saleslady had to retype every single article number which took hours.

I use this example often to illustrate the need to create seamless digital processes within organizations, and I thought these kitchen professionals would love the story. After all, the probably hate Ikea, don’t they? When I finished telling the story there was no applause. In fact, the room was eerily silent. Later, someone took me aside and said: “Mr. Cole, I’m afraid the Ikea thing bombed on you. You see, we also have a Planner App, and it, too, is not connected with the back office…” I love it when reality proves one of my points.

How do you help audiences understand the future of finance and technology? 

I try to get down to the personal level and describe everyday experiences that everyone can relate to. It’s when I can almost see the light bulbs appearing above the heads of people in the audience that I feel I have done my job.

What do you hope to accomplish with your work as a keynote speaker?

I believe that we as individuals and as a society will need to adapt in order to survive, or at least to keep on leading meaningful and secure lives. We are in the process of collectively crossing the digital divide from an old-fashioned analog to an increasingly networked world, a world in which we spend more and more of our time in a kind of “world behind the computer screen”, in which, like in Louis Carroll’s “Alice Behind the Looking Glass”, many things look familiar, but many are very different.

For instance the rules of the game. In Alice’s looking glass world, they play chess, but they play by different rules – the king can move as often as he wants. Similarly, in the new world behind the screen, some rules are different, and in order to play and enjoy life, we need to understand – and sometimes even make – the new rules. This calls for a higher degree of flexibility and creativity than before, and besides, the digital world runs faster, namely at internet speed. To keep up we need to constantly question ourselves as consumers, as citizens and as businesses and be willing to adapt. You can’t turn back the clock, so you better look ahead!

See keynotes with Tim Cole
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Keynote topics with Tim Cole