3 predictions for what unfolds between now and 2030.
1) The Return of the Hunter Gatherer
This is the last decade of the forty-hour corporate career.
The shift has already started, but I expect an increaingly rapid transition from careers to creators.
We will shift from a marketplace where you largely sell your skills to one company at a time for possibly years, to multiple companies (or audiences) with shorter time commitments at any given time.
The reasons for this are manifold, but the primary one is because we now can. The Information age opens up opportunity like never before. It also opens up the very real possibility of freedom of time and place.
A creator’s world is messier and way less predictable than the career professional. But (speaking from personal experience) it lights your soul on fire when you do only what you want to do.
It is a return to the wild, the rebirth of a digital hunter gatherer.
2) No More Factory Workers
Maybe it’s got to do with the fact that our current education system does the bare minimum to prepare one for life and work (unless you are in a very specialized field like medicine or accounting).
Or maybe it’s got to do with the current system being designed in the Industrial age with the objective to churn out obedient factory workers.
This is the last decade of a formal K-12, or University education/degree.
For K-12, a break from outdated national/state-wide curricula and suffocating teachers unions is on the horizon. A return to more community-based schooling that better prepare children for life and the future. More emphasis on learning how to think, less on what to think. More wisdom, more heart, more creativity, less routine/rote/theory.
Degrees/certifications will soon feel very last century. Not a positive development for Universities and colleges (again, with the possible exception of specialized training).
A faster feedback loop between learning and application. Rather than spending 4 years learning mostly useless theory from out-of-touch, tenured professors (while piling on debt), a shift to shorter, more cost-effective, real-world teaching from actual practitioners.
Again, the Information Age has already initiated this. Expect a more rapid shift in the coming years.
3) Technology Apocalypse
(No diagram for this one, and probably my most controversial take).
Unlike Hollywood’s interpretaion, the original Greek meaning of apocalypse is “an uncovering” or the “disclosure or revelation of great knowledge”.
As software eats the world, with expectations of exponential growth and the availability of almost endless cheap money, tech startups are attracting higher valuations than ever before (from raising at 10x revenue a few years ago to 30x-50x being the norm now) from frenzied investors.
I might be in the minority and I might be dead wrong, but I believe we are at peak tech for this current cycle (a cycle that started in earnest in the 1980s). End of cycles are typically characterized by frenzies/manias. “This time is different” never ends well either.
Valuations aside, I have additional thoughts on this cycle.
From the first DOS operating system to currently shipping SaaS/apps, the primary motivation of most technology this cycle has been to drive consumption. Ship more, engage more, profit more.
While engagement is important (what good is a product if no one uses it?), the next cycle (it’s started) will be motivated by service and empowering people. Startups, companies and creators deeply aligned with this are going to have a massive impact.
For one, serving and empowering others is always great business. But second, those truly motivated by the greater good are going to “uncover” new knowledge, new technologies, new ways of doing things that we never could have imagined. Think quantum leap.
Because accessing/unlocking this knowledge from the ethers requires a greater wisdom, a greater motivation than just optimizing for higher signups or usage.
A lot of those still obstinately stuck in the old consumption cycle will be left behind. I expect a lot of startups, companies and VCs to go under because of this, but like a natural forest fire, or a tree shedding it’s leaves, this will ultimately be healthy for the entire ecosystem as the old gives way to the new.
Serve more, empower more, profit more will be the motto of this new cycle.
And I am excited as hell to welcome this apocalypse.