Monday, April 22, 2013

The Future Belongs To The 90s

Before the millennium, people used to wonder what amazing change would happen in the future. We thought we would be living in a Mad Max world, or flying around in aero-dynamic cars and having our brains attached to super computers. We anticipated a VUCA world. One that was volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. What we didn’t expect is how vibrant, unreal, crazy and astounding our experience of life could be.

Time is now measured in an instant. 15 minutes is too long. To ask an investor to wait 5 years before seeing a profit is incredulous. Facebook, once the poster child for the digital age, is now seen by kids as being too archaic for their taste. They’re going the way of magazines. Too slow. Too permanent. They want something instant. Something that creates a feeling of urgency with a short shelf-life. They want excitement.

Now that it’s happening, talking about the future feels a bit retro.

Douglas Rushkoff, one of the first people to grasp the concept of viral media and social currency, has just released a book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. He uses words like narrative collapse (when we have no time to tell a linear story), digiphrenia (when technology and media enables us to be in more than one place) to describe what he calls presentism, which is essentially what I have been referring to as the Age of Now.

In the Age of Now, execution is everything, velocity is everything. It’s "all kinetic energy, no potential energy. No hard drive. All RAM," says Rushkoff. It requires a different approach to how we understand change. Long-term projections are dead. This scares people who are uncomfortable with being accountable and like sitting in a lot of meetings and hiding behind piles of paperwork and research. Stop living for the future. Get some courage. Start doing things for the Now.