Keeping Up with Innovation

I wonder about this.

Watching that video makes me think that the person who made it is probably… getting old.

I don’t think that young people worry that the world is changing too fast. After all what makes the author think that the rules of business suddenly changed 15 years ago. Maybe that was when they started in the business and now they feel they don’t understand things quite so well. I mean the rules were different between 1950 and 1965 too, it’s a fact of life.

Everything changes very fast now, for sure. It’s hard to know how much this is different from when we were kids. Old companies are always being out-innovated because they are stuck in old ways of thinking. When you try to choose a technology on which to base some future business, people will rapidly say the very next moment: “Why are you using that old way of doing things when this new solution that just came along is so much better?” We get choice paralysis because of fear of not adopting or being aware of the latest thing.

I believe that the following is happening now: There is a network effect that is coming from the closer and closer integration between world-wide communities driving towards a homogenous market. In the past communication was looser, which means more chance for different rules of business success to exist in different geographic locations.

In order to succeed it was only necessary to compete against the ideas and resources of people within your own community, and the rate of change was limited to innovation largely within that community plus the slow rate of new ideas diffusing in from outside. Consumers only got to choose between products that were available locally. Now of course because of the internet and global shipping you can shop from anywhere and your competitors span the globe. As a business, you are exposed to everyone, and the rate of change of product ideas depends on the newest and fastest innovating companies out there – and they don’t have to be successful, only cool-sounding, to set customer expectations.

As more of the third world comes on-line, has access to technology and investment money, and can contribute to global innovation, we should see some pretty crazy new stuff coming out. I guess you have to lose the need to have to get your head around all of it.

I think that kids realize that they don’t know that much compared to what is out there and so accept lack of understanding as a background norm; but adults feel that they have mastered the world already and then their lives are all about trying to keep up with the little bit that is new.

Only actually this is never just a little bit, but an infinite vista of seething change, so it creates stress. Best just to give up and swim in the sea of weirdness making sense of things when possible.