The Future…. In my 20 years of work on this planet I have spent a good amount of time thinking about the future. Most of my businesses and experiences are based on technology, so we have always been looking at the future. How long with this system or version last? Will this technology or that technology be the standard? Should we buy the first generation version of this, or wait for the second after all the bugs have been found and fixed? We ask the same thing about systems; 10 years ago we were all forced to buy a listing, or advertising in the “Yellow Pages”. We called it “the cost of doing business”, then advertising on the Internet became more relevant, and ultimately the Search Engines won out in terms of impact and exposure on the Internet.

So what’s next? I ask that question all the time, I’ve made a career out of speculating on technology, and the business case you can make for a specific technology. I have built companies that; configured Internet Connections and Email accounts, designed and developed websites, built software that automated process, and ultimately help clients understand and benefit from Search Engine Optimization. In each case there was a business need, and early on subject matter expertise was critical to achieve success.

We are preparing to head down to Austin TX, for South By Southwest 2011 ( Every year this show brings out all kinds of futurists, what’s next products and the next must have service. We have looked at social media, local search and a better way to manage new content, as future needs. All of these areas have potential, but none of them seem to have the next critical “it” factor we need to plow ahead.

How can this relate to your business? Are you looking at future technology? Maybe you are also trying to determine whether or not to invest in future technology, or be the next future technology. I think it’s important to apply some old school business philosophy when looking at adapting new technology. Outside of ROI will the new technology help you sell more? Produce more? Or will it allow you to do what you are doing more efficiently? If the technology will help you do that it’s worth further investigation.

I just recently listened to an interview with Seth Godin and he was talking about how the Industrial Revolution has passed us by. The challenge is, our entire workforce, and most of our education systems are built around this 100 year old model and it’s no longer relevant. According to Godin the Industrial Revolution allowed us to build things assembly line style at a low cost. Success as an employee or in the service of your customers meant you did what you were told. These days that model doesn’t work, because your boss or your customers can always find someone who will do what they are told for less money than you! The new model is finding and bringing more value to your job, boss, and customers. Don’t fight to be the champion of the cellar dwellers, be the future!