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Dell Inc. (DELL), McDonald’s Corporation (MCD): An Interview with Douglas Rushkoff

We talk with author and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, who has published 10 books on media, culture, and technology. He joins us to discuss his most recent work, Present Shock, about living in today’s immediate, always-on world.

Dell Inc.Douglas joins us for a discussion of today’s real-time, always-connected world, and the repercussions it has on individuals, investors, and businesses. He looks at Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), GE, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) and more to examine what works and what doesn’t as Industrial Age corporations learn how to function in the Digital Age.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Brendan Byrnes: Hi folks, I’m Brendan Byrnes and I’m joined today Douglas Rushkoff. Douglas is a media theorist, and the author of Present Shock. Thank you for your time, Douglas.

Douglas Rushkoff: Thanks for having me.

Brendan: First of all I wanted to ask you simply, what is “present shock?”

Douglas: Present shock is really just the human response to living in a world where everything’s happening now. It’s a world without beginnings and endings, without a past or a future, without origins or goals. It’s kind of disorienting for people and businesses to be in that constant steady state.

Brendan: I would assume that easy access to information perpetuates this. Is this a good thing? Do you think people getting news immediately when they want it from the Internet, people getting updates on their friends’ lives via Facebook, or using Twitter to get all these different perspectives…a lot of people would argue that’s a good thing. What do you think?

Douglas: It can be a good thing, if people know how to orient and manage it. Most people and businesses end up in this constant state of crisis management because they don’t have a goal, they don’t have a sense of momentum.

It’s hard to get a sense of momentum when anything can interrupt you at any moment, whether that’s a tweet or a call waiting, or a new news report, or a new shareholder complaint.

Brendan: Right. Another thing I want to talk about is productivity, efficiency. Do you think workers today are more efficient, more productive, with this “live in the now” era, or do they get distracted too easily?

I think everyone’s familiar with surfing Facebook on work. Is this a good thing or a bad thing when you’re talking about efficiency and productivity?