Monday, December 05, 2011

Times Are A Changing As Always

Perhaps it's the holiday season or the excitement of a new year approaching, but I've been thinking about the some broad stroke perspectives.   

As we enter 2012 we are in the middle of celebrating some anniversaries.  We will soon have around 20 years of the web under our belts -- the first Nexus browser came out in 1990 and the Mosaic browser (far easier to use and the template for what we have today) in 1993.  It was around 10 years ago in 2002 when High Speed Internet access was only in 10% of the homes - now it's well over 70%.   And when you really look back to around 30 years ago we saw personal computers move from being a hobby to a full fledged industry with Apple- IBM squaring off and Microsoft starting to brew software.  It was also around 20 years ago that we saw the first portable cell phones that could actually be carried around without a bag or a being the size of a brick - those 1980s lug-able phones are nearly 30 years old now.

These evolutionary anniversaries signal some big changes in all of lives here on Planet Earth.   Look at some of the random examples that seem to stand out when you step back : 
  • Christmas Cards - Notice that you are getting fewer and fewer every year?  Sending off a few Email cards, dropping everyone a tweet or a Facebook greeting, or perhaps a text will do. 
  • Paper - We seemed to be drowning in paper 30 years ago.  So much of what we did in transacting our lives and creating content came from using paper.  While we still use a lot of the stuff - we can see a day when paper will be rare - sort of like stone tablets. 
  • Physical Presence: In the 80s and 90s we began to see the potential of a world where we were able to have a nearly full communication experience without needing a physical exchange. 
  • Telephones - It's clearly the all purpose tool of the future.  If you go back to the big inventions of 100 or so years ago it would have to be the mass acceptance of - Autos, Electricity, Airplanes, Phones and Radio/TV.   While all of these has evolved to some degree the biggest growth has clearly come in phones over the last 30 years.  It's been able to evolve and morph with so many other innovations.  
  • World Communication - The planet has never seemed closer in a connected way, yet we also seem to be showing more division in beliefs and struggling to find common ground in many ways.  It's great that we can all communicate so freely but it also requires that we have open minds and be curious and tolerant of a planet that will pass 7 billion people early in 2012.  
  • Demographics and Generations - We are moving faster in communication and information with every generation to a point where the gaps between various age groups is sometimes dramatic.  Look at all that has evolved and changed to a person who is in their 70s or 80s today.   We are moving at an ever increasing rate of speed that requires that you keep up or fall way behind. 
  • Elections - It will be a big year for big talk.  The influence of the evolution of our communication abilities is having a huge impact on elections.  With all the discussion of issues and drama, that is so open and interactive, elections, and our expectations of the leaders that evolve from them, is something we will have to learn and adjust to.  Maybe we will realize that Superman was fiction - none of us on this planet is that good.    Maybe the people will regain their voices in a world that seems to be more and more influenced by commerce over community. 
I'm sure you have lots of examples to add here, but as we get set for 2012 the big point that  there is a lot to reflect on.   It should be an exciting year as we start to see economies recover, perhaps some hopes for a more peaceful planet as a number of countries/cultures are evolving and changing, and the ability to communicate so quickly and freely continues to speed up our evolution.   

It will also be a year when we will no doubt hear a lot about the Mayan Calendar which seems to end on December 21st by all of the calculations and speculation we can piece together.   While some have predicted the end of the world and cosmic events - perhaps we have been working towards a big moment in our evolution and that is what they foresaw. 

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