Frager Factor

Friday, March 08, 2013

Factor Gems: The Roots of My Optimism (What 3D Has To Do With Ham and Cheese)

Here is a reblast of a private VIP email sent in December 2008. As usual stumbled upon this gem while searching an old drive for something else that I haven't found yet.










From: Owen Frager
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 1:08 AM
To: OMM
Subject: ==> The Roots of My Optimism

Good Morning Folks,

According to Ageless marketing, nature endowed our frontal lobes with the ability to look beyond the present moment into time ahead. However the farther cognitively removed we are from the present, the more likely our predictions about the future will prove wrong. This is especially true when some disruptive event explodes in our midst to nullify our customary way of seeing things.  The printing press did this over five centuries ago. The Internet did this less than two decades ago.

The Internet has altered in measurable ways virtually every aspect of human life. It has radically changed how business operates. Even the most astute science fiction writer could not have anticipated the magnitude of the Internet on business.  For instance who in 1990 would have predicted the emergence of a new business model in which company’s most important consumer products are free – such as they are on craigslist.com, Google and an assortment of social media sites.

Ponder how Amazon’s has transformed the book selling business.  Think about Wikipedia’s radical disruption of the encyclopedia business. Overnight, a $1,400 set of Encyclopedia Britannica lost virtually all its value to most people. Free Wikipedia was not only a hundred times larger, but according to a study by the British journal Nature, just about as accurate.

Customers talking to each other reveal the pros and cons of products and companies on a daily basis.  People now trade stocks on line at a fraction of the cost in pre-Internet times.   Homebuyers go around the close-knit, incestuous Realtor ® community in search for new homes.  Thanks to Skype and other voice over Internet protocols, you can talk to anyone, anywhere in the world without a long distance charge.

The list of technological, economic, social and cultural disruptions in our lives due to the Internet since 1990 or so is astonishingly long. But, the Internet is only one source of life-changing, world-changing disruptive forces that are radically changing the human experience in virtually every way conceivable.

An aging population is radically changing the dynamics of supply and demand.  With most adults now over 45, big houses, full closets and years of materialistic fulfillment are resulting in falling per capita spending in dozens of categories.  Exacerbating this trend is the shrinking number of people under 45 in developed nations around the world – the result of over 35 years of too few births annually to replace the population.

Advancements in science in portend enormous disruptions – many for the betterment of the human condition. For example, genomic and medical research has caused scientists to cautiously predict the end of diabetes, many cancers (if not all) and a long list of inherited diseases like Huntington’s.

Even the dismal science is seeing benign disruptive developments. Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for his work in using microloans to bail millions of families out of abject poverty has plans that he claims will eliminate poverty worldwide by 2025 – just 13 years from now. This from a man thought by traditional bankers to be more than a bit unrealistic when he proposed to them using microloans to life people out of poverty. Microlending for this purpose has now become a sizeable industry.

Think back 14 years to 1994 and reflect on all of the unpredicted breakthroughs that have occurred in field after field.  The Internet browser, Netscape appeared in 1994. When asked his opinion of its importance, Bill Gates replied, “It’s a trivial thing.”  Yet, the browser transformed the world in ways that no other communications artifact ever has.

Also in 1994, teams at the University of Innsbruck and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology executed the first successful teleportation task. Granted, their accomplishment was far from the impressive actions of Scottie’s teleportation device aboard the Starship Enterprise. But it still was enough even at the quantum scale to confirm its possibility (though I wouldn’t recommending shorting airline stocks just yet.

And here’s another Starship Enterprise technology just beginning to emerge: remember the replicator that Enterprise crew members used to make ham and cheese sandwiches from assorted atoms and molecules? A primitive semblance of the enterprise’s replicator has reached the marketplace in the past decade – only it’s called a “3-d fax machine.” It is yet to reproduce the organic stuff in a ham and cheese sandwich, but

We are in a period of bifurcation – a “crossroads between death and transformation,” as Margaret Wheatley says, when a system is at maximum instability. The Soviet Union entered a state of bifurcation in 1985, fated to reach maximum instability in 1990 and collapse into separate states in 1991. Many in the U.S. smirked and proclaimed absolute victory over socialism. Yet today, the U.S. economic system has been massively disrupted by actions of the most doctrinaire conservative administration in U.S. history. Several weeks ago it blinked during a moment of “maximum instability” and nationalized much of America’s leading financial organizations.

 Living through times like these is a scary, and for many, a deeply painful experience. In such moments it is hard to see far beyond the present. Yet, I am full of optimism about the future. I feel throughout my entire being the winds of change that are blowing away the detritus of worn-out ideas and ways of managing our governments, our companies and indeed our own lives.  Once more, as Tom Stoppard reminds us in his play Arcadia, “The future is disorder. A door like this has opened up five or six times since we got up on our hind legs.  It is the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you k new is wrong.”

The political, economic, cultural storms we are living through are precedent to the most extraordinary age of comfort and plenty in the history of humankind. Deconstruction has always preceded reconstruction in the long journey of human progress from the days of the first hand-wrought tools.

Have a GREAT day,


Owen

**http://agelessmarketing.typepad.com/ageless_marketing/2008/10/the-roots-of-my-optimism.html



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