Sunday, January 1, 2012

We Are Living in Exponential Times

The world is changing more rapidly than ever before and that rate of change is accelerating.

This YouTube video about the rapid progression of information technology was shown at a Sony executive conference last year. Here are some excepts:
  • The first text message was sent in 1992. Today, the number of messages sent every day exceeds the number of people on Earth.
  • It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million people, TV 13 years, the Internet 4 years, the iPod 3 years, and Facebook 2 years.
  • The number of internet devices in 1984 was one thousand, in 1992 one million, in 2008 one billion.
  • 4 exabytes (4 x 10^19) of unique information will be generated this year: more that the previous 5,000 years combined.
  • The amount of technical information is doubling every year.
  • The most in-demand jobs of 2010 did not exist in 2004.

Some of today's most innovative and significant market-leading companies did not exist 20 years ago: Amazon and eBay were founded in 1995, Google in 1998, Wikipedia in 2001, Skype & iTunes in 2003, Facebook in 2004, YouTube in 2005, Twitter in 2006.

Seth Godin wrote the following ten years ago and it still applies today: "There has never been a worse time for business as usual. Business as usual is sure to fail, sure to disappoint, sure to numb our dreams. That's why there has never been a better time for the new. Your competitors are too afraid to spend money on new productivity tools. Your bankers have no idea where they can safely invest. Your potential employees are desperately looking for something exciting, something they feel passionate about, something they can genuinely engage in and engage with."

Within our rapidly changing world, we might be apprehensive about the uncertainty and changes ahead. On the other hand, now is the best time to consider what these changes will cause and allow. Yes, there is now worldwide competition, but there are also worldwide marketplaces and opportunities. Opportunities can be found by challenging the status quo. Technology and innovation can be applied to solve a variety of problems in a variety of places. In a worldwide marketplace, there is need for innovation and creativity in emerging and developed countries alike. Flexibility and adaptability are two of the most important traits required for success in our rapidly changing times. Those who succeed will be comfortable and confident in taking on new challenges.

As we start 2012, I urge everyone to embrace the new challenges and great opportunities that we will face in the coming year.

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