AgTech Speaker: You Are Not A Farmer, You Are a Technologist

When someone asks you, “what do you do?” and you respond that you are an ag retailer, crop consultant or farmer, John Ellis says that is the wrong answer.

“You are a technologist who has chosen to deliver farm products,” Ellis told farmers and retailers attending the 2017 Farm Journal AgTech Expo in Indianapolis.

As a veteran of the mobile and automotive industries, Ellis says the technology revolution is coming at all levels, across all business sectors and quickly. As proof, he says it took 60 years for the telephone to be widely adopted in the U.S.; it took only 10 months for the iPad.

Ellis referenced a patent Google received in 2016 to push content to a car in exchange for information about that car. He believes the technology will transform the relationship between vehicles and data.

“Software companies are driving this, not the original equipment manufacturers,” he says. “The best example is Tesla, which founder Elon Musk says builds software and then wraps it with a car. The construct of a software-first company is so strong that if you fail to understand it, you’ll fail to succeed.”

He offered Expo attendees three steps that can help them plan for success in the years ahead: get comfortable being uncomfortable, think differently, and prepare for the data economy.