Exponential waves in history
Even the large historical waves start to show exponential effects. For over 2 million years we were hunter-gathers (Hunter-Gatherer Era), for over 10,000 years we were farmers (Agrarian Era), for 400 years we were traders (Mercantile Era), for about 200 years we have been industrialists (Industrial Era) and now we are about to move into the Fifth Era.
Finding meaning in future trends
The book is not far from a blog I wrote a year ago about trying to making future trends meaningful. The link to the blog you will find here
There are two mega trends, the Digital Revolution and the Biotechnology Revolution. And they are starting to mix. The authors identify a number of other key trends as result:
- Biotechnology and Healthcare
- Big Data, Analytics, and Applications of Artificial Intelligence
- Wearables and the Internet of Things (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
- Security Software
- FinTech and Blockchain
- Clean Technologies
There is nothing new there.
Understanding Generation C
What the book teaches you is how different perspective of the Generation C. Anyone born after 1990. They have always been connected. It is the generation that Richard Watson in “Digital versus Human” is very worried about. The authors suggest we should go with the flow.
They are different
They are very different than people born before 1990 and we need to learn to see the world in their eyes. Technology is so intimately woven into their lives that the concept of “early adopter” is essentially meaningless. They are Generation C—connected, communicating, content-centric, computerised, community-oriented, always clicking. Which means that our underlying assumptions are wrong.
The definition of friendship as an example
Both our generation and Generation C have the same definition of what a friend is. They just have a lot more of them and a lot of them, they have not even met. However, consistently, that Generation C is living up to the definition of friendship with their friends while our generation is not Whose Friends Are More Real? The answer is Generation C. Why? Because they have released themselves from the Industrial Era mindset friendships need to be physically based and because they have embraced digital innovations that allow them to build virtual friendships with people they have not yet met in person.
Our assumptions are wrong
Our assumed definition of learning and universities, work, marketing and branding is wrong. That is why they invented “the sharing economy,” “services on-demand,” “virtual workplaces,” and so on, that better fit people’s future new realities. Their trust is shifting from well-known brands to referrals from their closest friends. These changes are forcing companies to rethink how to manage their employees, who are already becoming less emotionally attached to their company’s wider purpose and goals and who expect to be able to live their digital lives at work as well as at home
It is all good news
- There will be a plethora of new and unimaginable inventions.
- There will be a fundamental reevaluation of what humans value.
- We will have a dramatic increase in productivity.
- Sustainability will become an essential part of doing business
- People will have much more freedom to spend their time according to their desires.
- The power of diversity will be increasingly understood and leveraged.
- Traditional philanthropy and the for-profit model will come closer together
Unless Balkanization of the global economic system, cybersecurity crises and failures or regulation and anti-technology protectionism will spoil the party.
We need to take note
One way or the other you have to take note. It is the next gold rush. What is concerning is the “winners take all” effect. Most people are on the sidelines. The world’s most valuable companies are Fifth Era companies. The world’s richest people are Fifth Era entrepreneurs. At the moment the winners are the tech entrepreneurs and their investors. That is only 0.2% of the working population reaping the enormous benefits
Options to get on the bandwagon
The book makes some suggestion to get on the bandwagon. Here are the options:
Option 1. Become a Technology Entrepreneur
Option 2. Become an Employee of a Fifth Era Company
Option 3. Become an Active Investor: Venture Capital Fund •
Option 4. Become a Passive Investor: Venture Capital Funds
Option 5. Become an Active Investor: Angel Investor
Option 6. Become a Passive Investor: Angel Co-Investment Funds
Option 7. Become a Crowdfunding Investor
Option 8. Become a Provider of an Incubator and/or Accelerator
Option 9. Become a Provider of Professional Services to Fifth Era Companies
Not sure what to make of that. For a lot of us, they are non-options? But are they? There is a message here. To make your fortunes, you will need to understand entrepreneurship. Crowdfunding might be a good way for you to dip a toe into being an investor in early-stage technology companies. Or start applying for a job in a fifth era company. I am advising all my kids (and everyone that listens) to become entrepreneurs. It is the future.