Travelocity Founder Encourages Innovation At Dairy Strong

Terry Jones, entrepreneur and founder of Travelocity.com, seeks to turn business disruptions into innovations and opportunities. Speaking at Dairy Strong 2023, the annual conference hosted by the Dairy Business Association, he encouraged farmers and agribusiness leaders to be more innovative in this increasingly technologically-driven world rather than allowing others to disrupt their businesses.

“Things are moving faster than ever these days,” Jones said. “It’s not a matter of if there will be disruption to your business; rather, it’s a matter of when.”

There are many forces of disruption. Connectivity is primary. Jones pointed out that this is an excellent opportunity to talk directly to customers and consider new business models.

“Mobile is everywhere, and it’s driving change,” he said. “We couldn’t live without our devices.”

Another disruptor is artificial intelligence. These systems learn about issues and practices 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“They get smarter every time they’re used,” he said. “Software updates keep them going. If you can adopt an AI system in any part of your business, it will make it easier.”

According to Jones, augmented reality is the key to the future of precision dairy farming. Robots are already in use on so many farms. They provide data directly from the cows as if the cows themselves are talking to farmers, Jones said.

“The connected cow is a reality where you can improve the animal’s health,” he said. “Use this modern opportunity – it’s better to be the disruptor than to be disrupted.”

Jones also spoke about disrupting experiences. He said that the key to this is to look at your basic skills and apply them to today’s world. Farmers and agribusiness professionals should use available software and their assets to think about and implement a new, more modern business model.

“Stop being disrupted!” Jones said. “Innovate!”

Marianne Darvens attended Jones’ session at Dairy Strong and felt it was exceptional. She said she loved Jones’ energy and how he encouraged his audience members to take charge and innovate.

“Toward the end of his presentation, I came up with the following synopsis: get out of the box, get out of your way,” she said.

Thinking up new ideas and nurturing the flame of innovation, no matter how unusual it may seem at first, is crucial to innovation success, Jones said. He noted that having the right culture and team is also essential for success. Building a culture that supports experimentation and having team members willing to try and fail as often as it takes to finally find success is perfect when it comes to innovating, he said.

Having a good coach will also help, he said. He believes everybody needs a coach in life, especially one who can help push change. A coach would also encourage and support taking the first risk, particularly with technology. Listening to customers and employees also increases innovative success.

“Figure out where you want to be,” Jones said. “You can get there.”