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The future of

It is the job of every entrepreneur to worry about the future. I do regular talks about future trends and recently I was asked by a national radio station to do something on “The Future”.

In preparation I read “Flash foresight” by Daniel Burrus, which is about how to predict trends and take advantage as a business. The book makes a distinction between cyclical change (recession) and linear trends (aging, computing speed) and hard trends (no escape) and soft trends (you can influence these).

The trends predicted are:

  • dematerialisation (everything smaller)
  • virtualisation (virtual worlds, virtual simulations)
  • mobility (going smaller makes things wearable)
  • intelligent products (everywhere!)
  • networking of all appliances/products
  • interactivity (web 4.0)
  • globalisation (the whole world connected)
  • convergence (of all the above)

These trends are speeding up and Moore’s law (double capacity, half cost) applies to all of the above.

Imagine a world

Imagine a world where tiny computers that are embedded in your brain, powered by nano fusion, talk to the intelligent asphalt where to park your car. I am not making this up. It is happening.

Burrus says it is NOT about economic recovery but about transformation of our economies and our businesses.

The bad news is that transformation is not good for economies with lots of legacy systems (the curse of what works) and great for the ones that have none. Africa will become a hotspot very soon.

The good news it that the rapid change will also means that some of our problems, such as health and energy, will be solved (algae, intelligent energy, anticipative intelligent health technology).

If you want to get a fix yourself as an entrepreneur be pre-active and follow military and toys. They are the first predictors of change. Business follows and education than lags. If you want a good one on that, read “Out of our minds” by Ken Robinson. The general gist of this book is that the banking crisis is chicken feed compared to the looming education crisis → we are not preparing our kids for the new world which need imagination, creativity and innovation, not commodity academics. I digress.

Been trying to figure out how to bring this back to the entrepreneur around the corner. Maybe the best example to give is our own We worry about the future. We have just launched version 4.0, which is a much better, nifty version, with lots more functionality but at the same time more clean and mean. But what is to come?

  • A virtual Smallbusinesscan where we can actually meet to help each other online?
  • A global Smallbusinesscan where business lessons are shared across the world?
  • Intelligent business products that are linked to Smallbusinesscan?
  • Smallbusinesscan helping you to park your car?
  • A portable Smallbusinesscan? A personal virtual Smallbusinesscan business assistant, mentor, advisor, partner?

And belief it or not, we are working on some of these or primitive versions of it (apps, dashboard, mobile).

Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we do make a point of imagining the future, we do try to be creative and we do try to apply it. And we think that makes better (but feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree). Whatever your opinion, it does create a whole new world of opportunities. And that is the point.