Questioning The Future of Our Businesses

In a world where customers can blog, Google, StumbleUpon, Digg, Twitter, del.icio.us, Technorati, Mahalo, Furl, Magnolia, Reddit, Sphere, FaceBook or MySpace a business’ products and services, does anyone really believe that email and voicemail will keep our businesses ahead of the merciless curve spiking up through this century?

Wouldn’t it make sense for companies to get their employees up-to-date with the latest Web 2.0 tools? Roll out RSS feeds to employees to keep them posted on the company’s latest news, projects and opportunities? How much value could be generated from a policy that encourages employees to invest 20% of their time at work blogging, social book-marking or otherwise engaged in acquiring the skills needed to stay ahead of the curve? Employees surf the web anyway. Why not tie their downtime to the needs of your business? It has it’s risks, but taking risks is the business of business.

As computer technology shrinks in size and grows in power and portability, the opportunity and necessity for companies to infuse the market with remarkable products and services becomes increasingly unavoidable. The failure of our businesses is not inevitable. But failure does become increasingly inevitable for those businesses that don’t grasp the exponential changes taking place right now.

The democratization of the world is accelerating, it’s cruel, it’s dangerous, but in the end it will be liberating. If your business wants to win, giving your employees the edge is the most remarkable way to thrive in the 21st century.

What Apple Saw in 2010

In the 1980’s Apple would run commercials predicting how the world would look in the future. Here’s one:

Pretty remarkable. A bit 80’s cheesy, but still fairly close to what we’re doing these days.

But here’s an observation and a question. There was a time before personal computers and the internet when writers had great visions about the kinds of things we’d see in the future. Those writers had incredible imagination and they understood the moral implications of their high-tech visions. But now that we actually have some of the stuff around, we don’t seem to produce the same quality or number of visionary writers. What happened?