Monday, June 19, 2017

Everything Changes; wonder what's next?

The end of the automobile industry and the global oil industry are both predicted by economic and industry modeling.  Perhaps.  Maybe.  This fellow (Tony Seba) describes the progression of technology, industry, and consumption according to what we've seen so far, and he's perhaps right about what's ahead.  We've been surprised before, of course; for example:
  • “I do not believe the introduction of motor-cars will ever affect the riding of horses.” Scott-Montague, 1903.  😃  In 1900 NYC was filled with horses and buggies, they were essential.  It took about a decade and a half to replace 95% of them with automobiles.
  • “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olson, genius engineer, 1977   😀 We know how that turned out.
  • Landline telephones were in every home when the first clunky mobile phone was marketed in the 80's.  AT&T's 15-year prediction said there would be perhaps 900,000 customers for mobile phones.  There were 109 million.  They missed the actual number by 120x.  In 2014, the number of mobile devices exceeded world population, 7+ billion.
  • Mixing computer things with telephone things would never be popular according to most industry participants.  Then came smartphones ...
  • And ... Apple's $600 smart phone would never be popular according to business analysts.
  • Electric vehicles are 5x-10x more energy efficient than their fossil fuel competitors, they have fewer moving parts and are more reliable, maintainable, and cost effective.  What happens when Uber moves to autonomous (self-driving) electric vehicles?  What happens when an integrated EV can power your home for a day or two?
Such changes in the consumer culture are not trends, they're disruptions.  Changes over time are often portrayed as linear, straight-line changes that advance predictably, a little each year.  Reality is otherwise, and there's a driving factor -- population.

Population growth continues as does urbanization. Consider the changes that might trigger in the marketplace.

Our centralized power grid is costly and inefficient.  I wonder what will change.
Our healthcare industry is clumsy and expensive.  Our transportation industry is inordinately complex and costly.  Our mega-super-store model is inefficient, and so are our shopping malls.  Our banking industry is crooked as a dog's hind leg.  Our international trade mechanisms are proven to be deadly.  I wonder what will change.

It's worth noting that everything changes, often rapidly.  Except truth; that doesn't change.  What's right and fair doesn't change, but literally everything else does.

Had a recent Skype call with a young African friend.  When we first met just a few years ago, he and his family were unreachable without mail or phone service.  Now he and many of the rest are on Facebook.  😎  What do these changes mean to our rapidly evolving cultures?

If politicians are smart, they'll perhaps get out of the way and take credit for the improvements.  🤣

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