So the past week has resulted in a number of excellent discussions around digital, and the future thereof, that seem to be dragging me out of the aforementioned funk I had found myself in. I think all us “grown up digital” kids get to a place from time-to-time where we’re just plain bored, and it requires the right person or the right conversation to grab us by the collar and pull us back up.
I can’t get my brain away from where the Internet will be in five years. 10 years. 20 years. The fact that most of what we see around us, and what we use day in and day out, has been built inside the last decade on tubes and pipes barely older than that is amazing. The information that has become available, the shrinking globe, and most importantly, the emerging relevance of trust. It’s leading me into an area where I really want to begin what would likely evolve into much of a thesis over the future, and as one once said, predicting the future is easy as it’s almost impossible to be proven wrong.
So while I geek out in the corner and start writing this down furiously into the cloud, do allow me this moment to offer you a 20-minute TED talk, provided to me by one Karly Gaffney after yet another rambling prediction at the office by myself. It’s almost 3 years old, yet contains information many of you are likely to find almost startling. And I think he’s really, really close. Enjoy!
It’s been an interesting time the past few weeks as conversations and meetings have been had with people who don’t really know me that well, nor do they know how I spend my work days. I’m baffled how hard it can be to describe strategy and account work in an ad agency to people not already familiar with it, thus invariably I have to dive into at least a bit of detail surrounding the career and a few of the recognizable things I’ve had a hand in.
Typically the questions are around “is Facebook stealing my information” or “I don’t use the Twitter”, but today turned out a little different. The question was “do you follow Google at all?” I wasn’t sure how to take it, and I asked for clarification. Turns out this youth pastor and musician holds a more-than-passing interest in the existing and coming Facebook vs. Google battle. And he shares my feelings that the battle hasn’t even begun yet. So I changed into controversial mode and fired back a thought:
“What if, while Google was perfecting search, Facebook built the foundation that will back-end the shift underway to recommendation?”
That single statement brought five more people away from the conversations over to chat with us. My thought was meant to be thought-provoking, but it comes with more than a little possibility as well. I phrased it like this:
“If you’re going to Boston how do you go about finding a hotel?” The responses mostly centred around friends and family, or specific websites. Nobody Google searched for hotels in Boston. “What if you want a good steak in Toronto, how do you source out a good steak?” Same responses. “So regardless of what you’re interested in, sourcing someone or something you already trust trumps Google?” The answer was yes. The following conversation took over half the room and about an hour, with different sides and different arguments moving. But I left with one significant take-away:
Not a single person in the room left without agreeing that Google could all but fail to exist in five years.
One thinks the eyes of the world are on Google.Me.