December 2nd, 2012
A New Book – “Entering the Shift Age”
This has been a year of extremely productive writing for me. Long time readers of this column may question that, as the frequency of columns here has been less in 2012 than in the prior six years. The reason is that over the last twelve months I have been writing a book.
“Entering the Shift Age” is a deep look into the new age we are now in. Five years ago when “The Shift Age” was published, I wrote that humanity was about to enter a new age. In brief terms I described why and wrote about the Three Forces of the Shift Age. In addition the book was a collection of the best columns from this blog. The goal of that book was to announce this new age and to prepare readers for the incredible changes this new age would bring.
Five years later it is clear that we are now fully in the Shift Age. In this time the Three Forces of the Shift Age have shown their redefining power and many of the forecasts written have proven true. Think of all that has happened since late 2007. Think about what was going on at that time: what you were thinking, how you communicated, how you looked at work, your profession, the global economy, your investments, how you communicated and consumed media. Think of the technology you thought was cutting edge in 2007. Compare that to how you view all these subjects today.
October 30th, 2011
Thomas Jefferson and Banks
Thomas Jefferson was one of the greatest Presidents of the United States. He helped shape the ideal of a citizen’s democracy for America. He was a visionary and evidently a futurist. Here is what he said in 1802 about banking institutions:
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered”
What would he think and say about the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon?
September 1st, 2010
Last November, I wrote a column here about the future of cable television. In that column from last November I forecast:
“Cable television subscriptions will experience noticeable percentage declines in the next three to five years.”
Last week it was announced that for the first time in history paid television subscriptions dropped 216,000 with cable taking the greatest hit.
The conventional wisdom of course is that this is due to the bad economic conditions of today. Of course that is a factor, but the times have been bad for the past two years. The new dynamic is what I touched upon in last year’s column; that the video viewing marketplace is fundamentally changing, that disintermediation is entering the living room with televisions with internet connectivity and that people have become increasingly comfortable with alternative screens. In addition, people have come to accept paying for what they watch. The cable television model is based upon having people pay for all the channels they don’t watch. Why would people who willingly pay for what they watch any longer except paying for channels they don’t watch?
Of course, a decline of 216,000 subscribers is nowhere near a “noticeable percentage decline”, but I believe that this first ever downturn will be looked back upon as the early indicator of the trend I forecast last year. As for the rest of that forecast from last years’ column:
“This decline will only be slowed if they [cable operators] accept unbundling and price per channel. This will cause a variety …
July 13th, 2010
As a futurist I often feel as though I live in a déjà- vu world. I write about something and then months or years later it occurs or becomes something that is on the minds of a lot of people.
This is the first of what may be occasional columns from years past written here that, for one reason or another, are relevant to what is currently going on in the world. As a futurist I try to write “ahead of the curve” or to take a “future look at today”. Sometimes old columns resonate today. This is one of them.
The recent – and ongoing – flap about privacy settings on Facebook is just the latest incident that makes us think about our privacy in this age of connectivity and social media. When we are confronted with this issue, predictably we seem to recoil and speak about invasion of privacy. We get upset that our personal data is or could be shared with people we don’t know.
Facebook, with almost too numerous to count privacy settings, is clearly a conflicted company when it comes to privacy. It has a culture, purpose and business model that is completely about sharing, or sharing completely. A complete surrender of privacy is the ideal.
To focus on Facebook and other social media as a place of concern for privacy is myopic. We all long ago gave up privacy for the sake of convenience. In the larger scheme of things we have willingly, if not fully consciously, …
July 1st, 2009
[Note: This is a column reprinted from the current "Shift Age Newsletter" as it is very timely and has already received a lot of positive comment. If you are not yet a subscriber of the newsletter, please go here and click on FREE subscription]
Those of you who have either read “The Shift Age” or have heard me speak about the Shift Age, know that the accelerating global electronic connectedness is one of the three forces that has, is and will continue to reshape our world. There are now 4 billion cell phone subscribers in the world. Facebook has more that 200 million users. Twitter is approaching 20 million users and all these numbers are increasing every day.
There is no longer any time, distance or place in human communication. That both transforms reality and creates new realities and opportunities. It is as though human communication is completely fluid and like water, can flow anywhere without boundaries, channels or hierarchies. Humans can interact with other humans in ways never before experienced in history. Our connectedness is a force in and of itself.
What has occurred these past few weeks in Iran will be regarded as one of the events in the geopolitical world that is both a confirmation of this new force and a signpost to our future global orientation.
Even a month ago, it would have seemed hard for most people to imagine that Twitter tweets would be used as news sources about a major event in the New York Times, …