August 16, 2012 By Andy Blumenthal
I am an avid follower of everything technology and trends, but am tired of hearing about cloud, mobile, and social computing.
It's time to get over it with the agenda of the past and get on with it with the future of technology.
Here is my "Technology Forecast 2013" with the top 8 trends I see going forward:
1) Service Provision--Cost-cutting and consolidation into the cloud is a wonderful idea and it has had it's time, but the future will follow consumer products, where one flavor does not fit all, and we need to have globalization with a local flavor to provide for distinct customer requirements and service differentiators, as well as classified, proprietary and private systems and information.
2) Service Delivery--Mobile is here and the iPhone is supreme, but the future belongs to those that deliver services not only to remote devices, but in wearable, implantable, and even human augmentation.
3) Human Interaction--Social computing epitomized by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more is a cool way in interact with others virtually, but wall posts, email, and chats are getting cliche--next up conjoining with others with capabilities such as telepathic communication, mind melding collaboration, and even virtual sex for the outlandish.
4) Robotics and Artificial Intelligence--With something like 10,000 drones flying the friendly and not-so friendly skies and even drones that autonomously land on aircraft carriers, the next robot is coming to the ground near you--drones will become (an)droids and will eventually have the AI to become part of our everyday society.
5) Service Assurance--Enough playing defense with a sprinkling of offense against our worst enemies--it's past time to move from trying to stop-gap infiltrators and do damage control once we've been robbed blind, and instead move to a hunter-killer mentality and capability--the price of being a bad boy on the Internet goes way up and happens in realtime.
6) Data Analytics--Big data isn't a solution, it's the problem. The solution is not snapshot pretty graphics, but realtime augmented reality--where data is ingrained in everything and transparent realtime--and this becomes part of our moment-by-moment decision processes.
7) Biotechnology--Biometrics sounds real cool--and you get a free palm reading at the same time, but the real game changer here is not reading people's bio signatures, but in creating new ones--with not only medical cures, but also new bio-technological capabilities.
8) Nanotechnology--Still emerging, quantum mechanics is helping us delve into the mysteries of the universe, with applications for new and advanced materials, but the new buzzword will be nano-dust, where atomic and molecular building blocks can be used on-the-fly to build anything, be anywhere, and then recycled into the next use.
Overall, I see us moving from mass produced, point-to-point solutions to more integrated end-to-end solutions that fit individual needs--whether through continued combinations of hardware, software, and services, man-machine interfaces/integration, and building blocks that can be shaped and reused again and again.
From my perspective, there a seeming lull in innovation, but the next big leap is around the corner.
(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
August 13, 2012 By Andy Blumenthal
What do you want to accomplish before you die?
Four university students in Canada developed a list of 100 things a few years ago that they’d like to do before they died. The list was translated into a book called The Buried Life, in which they set out on a mission to accomplish these goals. As of the book’s publication, the students have accomplished 53 of their goals — including playing basketball with President Obama at the White House!
Also on their list was to "get in a fight"— and so a couple of them beat the heck out of each other. (Uh, now you can cross that one off your list.)
No. 100 on their list is go to space. Now are they really going to make it there? Maybe one call to CEO Elon Musk and they'll get on the next flight of the new SpaceX Dragon capsule.
MTV made this into a reality TV show in 2010 and aired it for two seasons, and it was nominated for a number of awards.
The book came out in March 2012, and it hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list the very first week!
The premise of the book is pretty cool — they collected tens of thousands of entries on what people wanted to do before they died, chose the ones they thought were best, and had an artist creatively portray these.
Some of the items in the book are things you'd expect from people in terms of becoming rich, powerful, famous, and so on. Others are more intimate and from the heart like reconciling with estranged family members, forgiving those that have hurt them, understanding why bad things happened to them, and even finding true love.
What I find interesting is not so much even what people want to do with their lives, but how everyone is in a way (or actually many ways) imperfect and they seek to fill the voids in their hearts, souls, and lives.
Does creating a list of 100 things and checking off the list really mean anything or is it just a gimmick to get on TV, write a book, and earn some cash?
To me it's not how many things we accomplish, but what we are really trying to achieve — is it bragging rights and fulfillment of our mortal desires, or is it to get a deeper understanding of ourselves, improve who we are, and give back to others?
I don't have a list of a 100 things or even 10 things...I just want to live my life where I can look myself in the mirror in the morning for who I am as a husband, father, son, as a professional, and as a Jew.
I am not sure it is the big splashy things like the authors put down, including getting into the Guinness World Records that is all it's cracked up to be — but all the power to them.
My parents used to have a little sign hanging over the kitchen that said: "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." Yes, a little corny and cliché, but the point is well taken about setting priorities for ourselves that we can truly be proud of — and those things don't necessarily make a list, a record, or get you an ovation.
Today, I read in the news about how Lance Armstrong, champion cyclist, may end up losing all seven of his Tour de France titles for doping — just another example of what people are willing to do or give up of themselves to get what they want in life.
I say dream big, try your hardest, but don't get lost in lists of accomplishments and stardom — stay true to who you really are and want to be.
And like the picture shows, it's good not to take yourself too seriously.
(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
Editor’s note: This originally appeared on Andy Blumenthal’s blog, The Total CIO.
August 8, 2012 By Andy Blumenthal
I recently went into a store with my daughter to shop for a new iPhone case.
A clean-cut kid — maybe 13 years old — comes from behind the counter and asks me what I'm looking for.
I chat with the boy for a few minutes about their products and the prices of the various items — and I was genuinely impressed with this kid's "business savvy."
Sort of suddenly, a larger man emerges, whom I assume to be the boy's father.
Making conversation and being friendly, I say to the man, "Your son is a very good salesman."
The father responds surprisingly, and says, "Not really, he hasn't sold you anything yet!"
Almost as abruptly as he appeared, he turned and stumped away back behind the counter.
I looked back over at the kid and he was clearly embarrassed, but more than that, his spirit seemed broken, and he too disappeared behind the counter.
My daughter and I looked at each other — shocked and upset by the whole scene — this was a lesson not only in parenting gone wrong, but also in really poor human relations and emotional intelligence.
As parents, teachers and supervisors, we are in unique positions to coach, mentor, encourage and motivate others to succeed.
Alternatively, we can criticize, humiliate and discourage others, so that they feel small and perhaps as if they can never do anything right.
Yes, there is a time and place for everything including constructive criticism — and yes, it's important to be genuine and let people know when they are doing well and when we believe they can do better.
I think the key is both what our motivations are and how we approach the situation. Do we listen to others, try to understand their perspectives, and offer constructive suggestions in a way that they can be heard or are we just trying to make a point — that we are the bosses, we are right, and it'll be our way or the highway?
I remember a kid's movie my daughters used to watch called Matilda, in which the mean adult says to Matilda in a scary voice: "I'm big and you’re small. I'm smart and you’re dumb." Clearly this is intimidating, harmful and not well meaning.
Later in the day, in going over the events with my daughter, she half-jokingly says, "Well maybe the kid could've actually sold something, if they lowered the prices."
We both laughed knowing that neither the prices nor the products themselves can make up for the way people are treated — when they are torn down, rather than built up —the results are bad for business, but more important, they are damaging to people.
We didn't end up buying anything that day, but we both came away with a valuable life lesson about valuing human beings and encouraging and helping them to be more — not think of themselves as losers or failures — even a small boy knows this.
Editor’s note: This originally appeared on Andy Blumenthal’s blog, The Total CIO, at http://www.andyblumenthal.com/2012/06/big-and-small-who-who.html