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The End of the Beginning

The Beginning, Not The End

When we look at the developments in the last 100 years, it can be said that today's technology may just be the beginning of bigger disruption in the future. 

Companies like Apple and Google may just be the initial stepping stones, and technology will evolve further in unpredictable and unimaginable ways, impacting the next generation.

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The End of the Beginning

The End of the Beginning

https://stratechery.com/2020/the-end-of-the-beginning/

stratechery.com

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Key Ideas

Paradigm Shift

Certain companies in the automobile and technological sectors experience a paradigm shift once a while, where once-dominant companies are usurped by the next wave of startups.

First-generation car manufacturers, once considered untouchable were rendered irrelevant by imported cars. Tech companies like IBM and Microsoft, which had a stronghold across the world for two decades, appear to be sidelined by newer players like Google, Amazon, and Apple.

Generational Change

When the end-users needs and problems are solved in fundamentally different ways, even companies that aren't a direct competitor to the old establishments pose a threat.

Generational Change is inevitable and no company can remain dominant for long.

The Beginning, Not The End

When we look at the developments in the last 100 years, it can be said that today's technology may just be the beginning of bigger disruption in the future. 

Companies like Apple and Google may just be the initial stepping stones, and technology will evolve further in unpredictable and unimaginable ways, impacting the next generation.

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Mark Twain

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."

Mark Twain
What entrepreneurship is about

Challenging times can create even more obstacles between you and success. But entrepreneurship is about leaning into the obstacles and finding and creating opportunities in places others have overlooked or written-off.
As others run away from the chaos, there will be more opportunity than ever to deliver real value to the world.

General Electric (1892)

Thomas Edison officially got his start years earlier (and survived several smaller recessions during the 1880s), but launched General Electric right as the nation was heading into the Panic of 1893 (16 months where business activity dropped nearly 40% across the nation).

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Ctrl+Alt+Del
Ctrl+Alt+Del

The famous key combination, Ctrl+Alt+Del is a way for Windows PC users to terminate an unresponsive task, or reboot the system.

The story goes that an engineer at IBM in the year 1980, an e...

Unexpected Fame

A few years later when Desktop PCs became a rage among millions of users, and the Windows Operating system started gaining popularity, the software started crashing due to various reasons.

This led to the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+Del to terminate the application and restart the system to gain prominence through word of mouth, later making the engineer famous.

Early times

Before the Industrial revolution, everyone worked out of their home and sold their goods from there. With the Industrial Revolution came the need for automation and factories, and employ...

From factories to cubicles to WiFi

Just after WW2, there was a rise in corporate headquarters and larger office spaces and cubicles. During this time, the 8-hour workday was established.

Then came the advancements in computers and technology that lead to remote workers of today. The internet and public WiFi allowed employees to do everything they would in their cubicle, but outside the office. They can also work all hours of the day.

Remote work is common

4.3 million people currently work from home in the United States at least half of the time, and this figure has grown by 150% in the last 13 years.  

Remote workers tend to have higher engagement rates and higher productivity levels. Once they switch to remote work, they rarely want to become office bound again.

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An Uncertain Future
  • The past decade gave rise to the 'Gig' economy, spawning one-click app-based transactions.
  • Artificial Intelligence and automation are further transforming how people live and work.
Future Proof Your Career

Future-proofing your career to stay relevant isn't about learning how to code or going back to college.

It is about having a career plan with a long-term vision, taking into account the current job-market conditions, economic factors, emerging opportunities, personal interests, and family realities.

Shrinking Life Cycle of Jobs

A life cycle of a job is shrinking rapidly, and if you're not re-inventing yourself or pivoting on time, you are rendered out of work sooner than in the past decades.

We need to check our career plan and ask ourselves what skills need to be developed to pursue future opportunities, in this shifting economy.

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The Competency Trap
The Competency Trap

The company having the original PC technology back in the 70s was Xerox. This was a time when their photocopiers were a worldwide hit, and even their brand name ‘Xerox’ was used as a verb. They had...

The Problem Of Success

Successful organizations start having rigid corporate cultures, which crumble when the outside world evolves, which is always inevitable.

The rules and assumptions that companies operate on, become embedded, making the employees blinded from any potential future innovations.

The Sunk-Cost Bias

... is a reluctance to give up on the past spendings and investments made on projects or products that are no longer providing any return.

The managers are usually unable to make strong decisions and keep adding costs to failed (or about to fail) projects.

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The 5-Hour Rule
The 5-Hour Rule

The most successful, busy people in the world dedicate at least 5 hours a week to deliberate learning.

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The Simple Math 

It takes about 6,400 hours of class time and studying to get a 4-year degree. Assume that it takes you only 5,000 hours to master your field.

While you are happy that you've prepared for your profession, the knowledge you've learned is fast becoming outdated. We can safely assume that in 10 years, 50% of the facts in the field would be outdated. This means that for you, just to keep up in your current field, you'd need to learn 5 hours per week, 50 weeks a year.

Trends To Consider

When we consider the future of work, there are two trends we should keep a note of. They are:

  1. Half-life of knowledge
  2. Law of increasing learning

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Corporate Speak
Corporate Speak

Corporations have a language that they use while talking in meetings or communicating in email. It’s called Corporate Jargon.

Corporate jargon is a forced and complicated way to exp...

Language With No Substance
  • The corporate jargon is often described as fluffy, without any real substance and aimed towards the speaker’s self-inflated ego.
  • Words are substituted for analogies and references that take longer to process, and have the intention of wrapping, hiding or impeding actual, effective communication.
The Emporer's New Clothes

Corporate speak may not mean anything of value to anyone in a meeting, but like the Emperor's New Clothes, no one wants to point out the inefficiency and mind-numbing nature of the constant use of the jargon. Everyone pretends that they are on the same page as everyone else.

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Two of the biggest innovations
Two of the biggest innovations

Two of the biggest innovations of modern times are cars and airplanes. At first, every new invention looks like a toy. It takes decades for people to realise the potential of it.

Innovation is driven by incentives

There are three types of incentives:

  1. "If I don't figure this out, I might get fired." It will get you moving.
  2. "If I figure this out, I might help people and make a lot of money." It will produce creativity.
  3. "If we don't figure this out now, our very existence is threatened." Militaries deal with this, and it will fuel the most incredible problem-solving and innovation in a short time.

During World War II, there was a burst of scientific progress that took place. The government was in effect saying that if a discovery had any possible war value, then it had to be developed and put in use, regardless of the expense.

The conditions for big innovations to happen

The biggest innovations seldom happen when everyone's happy or safe. They happen when people are a little panicked and worried, and when they have to act quickly.

In 1932, the stock market fell by 89%. It was an economic disaster where almost a quarter of Americans were out of work. However, the 1930s was also the most productive and technologically progressive decade in history. Economist Alex Field writes that in 1941, the U.S. economy produced almost 40 percent more output than it had in 1929, with little increase in labor hours or private-sector capital input.

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Disruptive companies are gold

Disruptive companies are well-liked by investors and stakeholders, in this tough and cutthroat industry.

According to a study, 70% of startups fail, usually within two years of operation.

How to be a Disrupter

Four strategies for being a disrupter in this volatile industry:

  • Be ready to disrupt yourself
  • Don't get distracted by economic conditions
  • Harness the power of data
  • Understand that people are your biggest asset
Disrupt yourself

There was a time when Netflix used to deliver DVDs on mail, but now they have disrupted the digital distribution of content. Google didn't have a viable business model till 2002, but now Youtube, Android, and its ads businesses are shattering records consistently.

We need to disrupt ourselves instead of getting comfortable in what we do now.

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Steve Jobs did not fit the norm

Steve Jobs has always been considered an anomaly in management: his leadership style was something to admire or to criticize, but definitely not to replicate. 

He was navigat...

Apple’s approach to innovation

It puts people at the center. But it is definitely not user-driven: it does not listen to users, but makes proposals to them. Customers do not buy Apple's products because of utility or functionality.

Apple products are more meaningful to users. The products have great design - and identity. 

Managing by meaning

Is recognizing that people are human: they have rational, cultural, and emotional dimensions, and they appreciate the person who creates a meaning for them to embrace. For Jobs, design was not only beauty, but creating new meanings for users.

He also offered meaning to his employees - they worked hard on visionary projects, striving to meet targets and to satisfy their leader's maniacal attention to detail, because he infused them with a sense of mission: Apple had to leave a mark in the world of computing, improve people's lives, be bold and, of course, "think different."

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