Jeff Jarvis wrote yesterday in his Blog, "What's a Telegraph", that his daughter didn't know the five letter word used to hook a computer to a phone. For some of us, it's easy - a modem. But for those under the age of 10, they may never know the answer.
When I was in the Navy, I used to tell my fellow Aviators that someday, our Grandkids are going to laugh at us when we regale them with our stories of landing on the Carrier at night. They will look at us and say, "Grandpa, that's crazy. Why would you want to fly IN the plane when you can just do it from the comfort of a warm office at a computer." Scary thing is, it's not that far away - with the Predator and other unmanned flying vehicles already here, the days of the piloted aircraft may be numbered.
The question is, what "thing" in your in industry is "on its way out"? How is technology currently changing your marketplace? How is it going to change it tomorrow? What new invention, is going to revolutionize your industry, and how are you posturing yourself to leverage it, when the time comes?
Even things that you may have thought were the "wave of the future", may already be phasing out. Look at "email". Believe it or not, email use in users under 30 is down. Why? Because they exchange their ideas and messages in different formats. Text Messages, Instant Messages and Blogs are just a few ways.
What we used to need a desktop computer to do five years ago, you can now do on your phone. If you were thinking about investing in Music CDs, I'd hold off. They may not be around much longer - going the way of the LP record. And if you haven't heard of Hulu or a Slingbox - you are pretty far behind the times as well. Both of these tools provide very different ways of watching your favorite TV shows with ever having to be at home or watching it on your TV.
Things in life are changing fast - both in the business world and in your personal life. If you are trying to live your life or run your business, as you always have, you might find yourself without a market pretty fast.
My advice is stay on top of things - not only in your industry, but in those that you compete with. Understand the cutting edge of your business and / or be the cutting edge.
If you are thinking to yourself, I don't know where to get started. STOP. You do, you just aren't!
It's hard work, but if you stop and think about it - you know. Or you will if you start asking around. Some ideas include:
- Order trade journals from your industry.
- Join professional groups that include others from your market place.
- Ask your current industry leaders what they are doing different. Find out what they are doing and start matching it or improving on it.
- Read the blogs about what you do.
These are just a few ideas. There are hundreds more you can do. It doesn't matter where you start, only THAT you start. And if you are thinking that you don't have time or money to invest in this, let me ask you one final question - "Can you afford not to?"