Predictions in a plane

When you live for several years in the same country you start to think with a narrow perspective, developing a tunnel vision. It’s only traveling when you start to develop a broaden vision that helps you to see things you didn’t in the past.
The truth is, after half a year living in China everything looks normal for me. You stop looking for new ways of thinking. It has become your way of it.
Yesterday I recognized this point when I was buying some food at the supermarket. I was waiting in the line to pay. It was quick, I only had one 80 years old woman in front of me.
This woman, wasn’t looking for all the coins at the bottom of her purse. Instead, she took her iphone, open the Apple Pay app and pay the check. Wow! I have been observing  mobile payments here since I arrived, but seeing that woman paying with her mobile shocked me.
In that precise moment I started to observe the environment as a newbie again, asking question and trying to apply everything to the western culture.
In this particular case, China is really opened to innovation. You can see the latest gadgets, payment systems, shipments in less than one hour, and a lot of new stuff. This is a clear idea of what we are going to expect in the western world when we open the culture to innovation.
Sometimes we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, the answers are usually outside. We just need to look for them.
As an example, WeChat is the most popular messaging platform in China. It’s a mix between WhatsApp, Facebook, Paypal, Booking… It’s huge! You can use it to send money to your friends, pay at the stores, share your social moments, chat with people, and much more. It’s a platform for everything.
On the other hand, we have Facebook who’s trying to create the same platform. However, they need more time because the users are not ready for it yet. I’m sorry, but I can’t imagine a 80 years old woman paying with her phone in my hometown (Spain).
So, what’s the main takeaway from this post?
The Apple Pay example will be outdated in few years, but the core idea of this post will remain in time. The best way to predict the future is traveling. Whether you travel to China or another country, you will always get some insights that will allow you to make predictions to implement in another markets.
Understanding cultural differences is crucial, but it’s only by traveling when we start to understand it and making connections that will allow us to connect the dots of our predictions.
Get your ass in a plane and open your eyes!