The News Ė 04/23/01
Toffler Says We Ainít Seen Nothing Yet
In a recent article in the Wall Stree Journal, futurists Alvin
and Heidi Toffler scoff at the notion that the new economy is a sham, and
that the dotcom bubble burst means a complete return to the old economy
ideas of how to run an enterprise:
To imagine that
the new economy is over is the equivalent of thinking, in the early 1800s,
that the industrial revolution was over because textile manufacturers were
going broke in Manchester.
stock-market agonies hardly prove the new economy's non-existence. If stock
prices plunge 50% on a given day, does that mean the actual underlying
economic activities have been cut in half, that workers are producing half
of what they produced the day before? If share prices mirror reality at
all, they frequently do so with enormous lags and leads.
The Tofflers continue to say that the new economy has changed
organizations dramatically. Corporations are flatter, less hierarchical, and
their products are more customized. There is less vertical integration as
supply webs have allowed companies to focus on their true core
competencies. Companies must innovate faster and compete in ever-narrowing
niches. The Tofflers point to a fantastic statistic: There are more than
three million digital switches for each one of us today. This makes the
half a billion PCs and the projected 1 billion cell phones seem like a drop
in the ocean.
inescapable fact is that the revolution is real, and it manifests itself at
many levels simultaneously. Internationally, we see it in today's drive
toward globalization and the mounting backlash against it. Politically, we
see it in novel battles over privacy and intellectual property. We see it
in America's increasingly intangible exports. We see it in breakthroughs in
genetics and in the manufactured panic over genetically modified food. We
see it in the phenomenal rise of media power -- and the public's rising
hostility toward it. We see it in intergenerational relations. We see it in
a polarization of wealth. We see it in fears of a so-called digital divide.
We see it in a rising tide of anti-Americanism in Europe and Asia. These
changes are not independent of one another. They are part of a larger
is arising on the planet and it doesn't fit the assumptions, models and
paradigms left over from the industrial age. It is a new civilization of
which the new economy is only one part.
The Tofflers assert that the ride has just begun, and the
economic turbulence will continue as technological advances in every field
drive changes in every aspect of our lives. The most important trend, they
say, is the convergence of biology and digital technology. First, information
technology will revolutionize biology, and then the reverse will happen, as
we get biological computers
and other hybrid
devices of unimagined power.
Basically, itís way too early in the game to get off the
technology bandwagon. As futurist Kevin Kelly puts it, weíve just 15
minutes into a 24-hour poker game. Hold onto your seats, and keep a poker
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New TrendSpot Rankings
As you may know, I maintain a page that ranks current
emerging Internet-related trends called the TrendSpot. Iíve recently
completed the April ranking, and there are a few changes. One thing that
did not change was the fact that P2P computing maintains its spot at the
top. In addition, I split the Auto-ID/Smart Homes topic in two. As if that
werenít enough, a new trend, P2P Backlash, debuts at number 14, with a
Check it out at www.stratvantage.com/trendspot/
and let me know what you think.
Canít Get Enough of ME?
In the unlikely event
that you want more of my opinions, Iíve started a Weblog. Itís the
fashionable thing for pundits to do, and Iím doing it too. A Weblog is a
datestamped collection of somewhat random thoughts and ideas assembled on a
Web page. If youíd like to subject the world to your thoughts, as I do, you
can create your own Weblog. You need to have a Web site that allows you FTP
access, and the free software from www.blogger.com.
This allows you to right click on a Web page and append your pithy thoughts
to your Weblog.
Iíve dubbed my Weblog
entries ďStratletsĒ, and they are available at www.stratvantage.com/stratlets/.
Let me know what you think.
to Mikeís Take