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In 1998, the dotcom craze was going at full steam and it seemed like the entire world was turning upside down. So people took notice when economist Paul Krugman wrote that “by 2005 or so, it will become clear that the internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.”

He was obviously quite a bit off base, but these types of mistakes are incredibly common. As the futurist Roy Amara famously put it, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” …

Image: Pixabay

A while back, the conservative columnist John Podhoretz took to the New York Post to denounce the plotline of Disney’s new miniseries The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. In particular, he took umbrage with a subplot that invoked the Tuskegee experiments and other historical warts in a manner that he termed “didactic anti-Americanism.”

His point struck a chord with me because, in my many years living overseas, I always found that people in other countries were more than aware of America’s failures such as slavery, Jim Crow, foreign policy misadventures and so on. …

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It’s no accident that Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, was published in the early 19th century, at roughly the same time as the Luddite movement was gaining momentum. It was in that moment that people first began to take stock of the technological advances that brought about the first Industrial Revolution.

Since then we have seemed to oscillate between techno-utopianism and dystopian visions of machines gone mad. For every “space odyssey” promising an automated, enlightened future, there seems to be a “Terminator” series warning of our impending destruction. …

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Ahhhh…Summer! After more than a year of quarantine, we finally seem to be getting a grip on the pandemic. Things look infinitely more bright than they did a year ago and, almost against all odds, we can look forward to taking our masks off as we put our sunblock on. Hopefully, we can move back to some semblance of normalcy.

Still, it all feels like more of an interlude than a conclusion. Clearly, we have no shortage of challenges that face us today. …

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It’s become strangely fashionable for digerati to mourn the death of innovation. “There’s nothing new,” has become a common refrain for which they blame venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and other digerati they consider to be less enlightened than themselves. They yearn for a lost age when things were better and more innovative.

What they fail to recognize is that the digital era is ending. After more than 50 years of exponential growth, the technology has matured and advancement has naturally slowed. …

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Look at anyone who has truly changed the world and they encountered significant resistance. In fact, while researching my book Cascades, I found that every major change effort, whether it was a political revolution, a social movement or an organizational transformation, had people who worked to undermine it in ways that were dishonest, underhanded and deceptive.

Unfortunately, we often don’t realize that there is an opposition campaign underway until it’s too late. People rarely voice open hostility to change. …

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It’s hard to find anyone who wouldn’t agree that Microsoft’s 2001 antitrust case was a disaster for the company. Not only did the it lose the case, but it wasted time, money and — perhaps most importantly — focus on its existing businesses, which could have been far better deployed on new technologies like search and mobile.

Today, Microsoft is a much different organization. Rather than considering open source software a cancer, it now says it loves Linux. Its cloud business is growing like wildfire and it is partnering widely to develop new quantum computers. …

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When I first arrived in Poland in 1997, change was all around me. It was like watching a society transform itself through time-lapse photography. Everywhere you looked, the country was shaking off decades of post-communist rust and striving to make good on the promise of 1989’s historic Round Table Agreement.

Yet it wasn’t until the fall of 2004 that I truly understood the power of change. By then, I was living in Kyiv, Ukraine and the entire country erupted in protests now known as the Orange Revolution. …

It should be clear by now we are entering a pivotal era. We are currently undergoing four profound shifts, that include changing patterns of demographics, migration, resources and technology. The stress lines are already beginning to show, with increasing tensions over race and class as well as questions about the influence technology and institutions have over our lives.

The last time we faced anything like this kind of tumult was in the 1960s which, much like today, saw the emergence of a new generation, the Baby-Boomers, that had very different values than their predecessors. …

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Early in my career I was working on a natural gas trading desk and found myself in Tulsa Oklahoma visiting clients. These were genuine roughnecks, who had worked their way up from the fields to become physical gas traders . When the NYMEX introduced “paper” contracts and derivatives into the market, however, much would change.

They related to me how, when New York traders first came to town offering long-term deals, they were thrilled. For the first part of the contract, they were raking in money. Unfortunately, during the latter months, they got crushed, losing all their profits and then…

Greg Satell

Bestselling Author of Cascades and Mapping Innovation, @HBR Contributor, - Learn more at — note: I use Amazon Affiliate links for books.

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