FUTURE TRENDS IN THE EXPONENTIAL AGE OF ACCESS
The world is already changing faster than we care to believe. While we may not know exactly what the future holds we can make some plans with certainty. As this change is now increasing at an exponential rate, the change in our thinking should match this. These days it seems like we have to run – just to stand still.
Your plan may simply be a Second Income, a short-term Business Plan or a full 5-year Strategic Plan.
James Altucher spoke to Chip Conley Airbnb head of Hospitality, who hit the nail on the head when he said, “Nobody is sharing. It’s not the sharing economy, it’s the Access economy.”
Everyone wants it now, for less.
Especially the Digital generation who often have a better relationship with their electronic device than with real people.
This is also set out in the Simon Sinek interview you can watch here.
Access to information has grown at an exponential pace. BUT, when it’s faster, cheaper and more prolific – it’s value drops.
We are increasingly faced with exponential changes in economic uncertainty, even as we see the stock market rising to record highs, and the value of property in many major cities reaching unaffordable levels, while on the other hand – seeing pockets of rising job redundancy, poverty and social stress.
The world is wrestling with deflationary forces and loss of jobs – shifting demographics, cheap labour, excess productive capacity, and increasing automation – all mounting on top of one another to leave a camel with too many straws on its back…
What the final straw will be is anyone’s guess, but there is going to be a final straw, and there is going to be a major correction. It’s not a question. It’s a statement. It’s just how it works… it always has…it’s a natural and healthy cycle.
Just because we don’t know what that final straw will be, or which snowflake finally causes the avalanche, doesn’t mean we should ignore the dangers, or stop looking out for a possible avalanche while climbing to the pinnacle of our aspirations.
The time we have, to make a PLAN is already short!
Let’s look at these FUTURE TRENDS by looking first at some history…
In 1998 Kodak was a global company with 170,000 employees and a market share of 85% of all the photographic paper sold in the world.
Within a few short years their business model was redundant, they went bankrupt and the whole entity disappeared.
Traditional retailers are facing similar headwinds with changing business models, and today’s retail giants (particularly in the US) are due for a shakeout.
Amazon re-invented the way we shop online and in the last decade has grown almost twenty-fold from a $17.5B company to $356B. Compare this to some “old school giant” retailers like Sears that has lost 96% of its value, dropping from $28B to $1B (and barely showing on the chart below).
The coming retailer crisis is likely to cause a major re-set in the shopping malls across the U.S. The loss of anchor chains like Macy’s and J.C. Penney is going to seriously impact the viability of these malls and cause problems in the commercial mortgage-backed securities markets.
The U.S. has about twice as much retail space per person as Australia, and Australia has about twice as much as the U.K. Last month Macy’s announced the closure of 15% of its stores, closing 100 sites is as many as the total they closed over the past six years. (Wall St liked this news, sending shares 17% higher in a single day!). J.C. Penney plans to close about 130 stores and Sears wants to close 150 stores.
The point is this: change is going to be significant and rapid.
It is likely to cascade through vulnerable sectors that have become over-stretched.
As I will point out below, the disruption will cascade to fuel and energy sectors. Then probably into other real estate and financial markets.
In business and personal life, change is ever-present. It’s a constant.
If you don’t anticipate it, embrace it, and adapt to it you will fall behind.
Plan for it! Stay ahead of those that don’t act!
Believe it or not, significant opportunities are present in times of chaos, if you are well prepared.
PROPER PLANNING & PREPARATION PRODUCES PROSPERITY
Making plans and staying ahead of others is part of our DNA, it’s called survival of the fittest. You don’t have to out-run the lion, you just have to out-run the slowest antelope in the herd. It is how we evolved through the ages.
We just need to understand what Age we are in now, and maybe instead of getting a personal coach to run faster, get a Business Coach to become financially fitter…
THE AGE OF…
Since the “Stone Age”, we have progressed through various revolutions, including the “Agricultural Revolution”, “Bronze Age” and through to the “Renaissance”, then the “Industrial Revolution”, and the “Space Age” until our “Digital Age” that has now become the “Exponential Age”.
Just like the way Amazon has grown, companies that did not even exist a few years ago, have grown exponentially and are now the biggest in the world.
Uber does not even own cars, but is the biggest taxi business in the world.
Airbnb, does not own properties, but is the biggest hotel business in the world.
Facebook is an advertising company that simply taps into our desire to interact with other humans but it is as valuable as Amazon and bigger than Exxon Mobil which has “real assets”.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Nanotech and Virtual Reality
It is important to recognize that there are more scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs alive today than have ever lived in total human history. We are building on the knowledge base at a geometric rate and that includes the amount of intelligence we are building into machines, and the platforms that allow us to enter new fields of discovery.
Knowledge and the application of that knowledge is accelerating exponentially.
- Machines are beating humans in Chess matches, and a computer beat the best Go-player 10 years earlier than forecast.
- Machines can recognize human faces and emotions better than people, and can even tell when we are lying.
- Make a jigsaw puzzle of a face, scatter the pieces in a stadium full of 50,000 other faces and a computer can still put the face together.
- Legal advice is faster and more accurate when delivered by computers. We won’t need many new lawyers.
- We won’t need tellers and cashiers. Walk into a store, your phone pings, load a basket and exit, your phone pings, check-out done. Next comes restaurants, movies, flights… it all goes cashless. That’s another topic!
- Some cancer diagnosis is at least 4 times more accurate when done by a computer.
- Self-driving cars will reduce accident rates from 1 per 100,000 km to 1 per 10,000,000 km saving a million lives each year.
- Tesla is the innovator in this space – whether the company survives the enormous competition it has spurned for itself remains to be seen – but Telsa is actually a giant Big Data AI collection business that thinks it’s a car company.
- Most car companies will disappear just like Kodak, while tech companies like Apple and Google will build computers on wheels to ferry us about.
- The business model of car insurance companies will also go “Kodak” but that also means that even those of us that might want to drive a car will find the insurance costs will squeeze us out of that desire.
- On the brighter side, our commute will probably be more productive, more enjoyable and less smoggy as cars go cleaner, and the vast parking lots we now use would be redundant and could be turned into beautiful parks…
- Real Estate will change too, because you will work remotely or while you commute, and can live where you choose to, further away from city centers.
- There will be huge disruptions in the energy space. Energy will become more important, but fossil fuels less so.
- With cheaper energy will come more flexibility on where we live, as water desalination will allow fresh drinking water to be produced nearly anywhere. New frontiers on earth will appear, and so will new frontiers in space.
- Health will improve with AI testing of a range of bio markers on a daily basis when we simply visit the toilet or look into or speak into our phone.
- We are already 3-D printing spare parts when we need them; on the space-station and at remote airports. Soon we will print heart-valves and office buildings, then your perfect fitting shoe by scanning your foot using your phone.
- Bio-tech, Robotics, Nanotech, Quantum computing and Virtual Reality are likely to blur into extended lifespans, wearable devices and even brain implants one day…
So where does all of this leave us and how can we prepare?
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