There are several trends worth your immediate attention, and I have outlined them below for your information and use.
A particularly unimaginative boss who had mistakenly hired me some years ago said, in a typical moment of cliched monologue, "If you fail to plan, you might as well plan to fail." He was, of course, correct. In fact, cliches do generally embody some component of logical folk wisdom.
I would ask that you note these trends, think about how they may ultimately impact your personal and professional life, and then incorporate them into your planning process.
1. Online communities, interactive resources, referral services and networking groups (social and professional) such as FaceBook, LinkedIn, eCademy and MyWorkster are proliferating at a staggering rate. Creating a network of thousands of contacts is becoming easier and easier, and the speed of growth in accumulating sheer numbers of contacts is accelerating. Some unresolved issues which need to be addressed in order to optimize the advantage of utilizing this medium continue to remain bothersome and poorly addressed, even by the biggest names in networking. I invite their input, as always:
- How do I best (most efficiently) interface with these contacts?;
- How do I best keep in touch with these contacts;
- How do I induce these contacts to actually transact business with me?
Whoever can answer these questions will be a great catalyst for a sea change in the way that all business is conducted. Whoever applies this knowledge will become wealthy.
I invite you to take a look at Adam Kovitz' THE NATIONAL NETWORKER. He has a uniquely utilitarian approach to networking that seems to separate him from the rest of the name collectors (akin to autograph seekers) who seem to dominate this medium without telling us how to utilize it. Visit http://www.thenationalnetworker.com/ and http://thenationalnetworker.blogspot.com/. Please send Adam my best. Maybe he'll let me write a post for him someday.
2. Artificial Intelligence development is moving along through multiple channels, and at a faster pace than many conservative folks had ever expected. I am always fascinated by Bruce Klein's blog on the subject, at http://www.novamente.net/bruce. With apologies to Heisenberg, Jung and a host of other smart fellows, Bruce is doing something which I greatly admire...he is aggressively inviting bright individuals (and even a few of my former fraternity brothers) to participate in an open forum regarding every aspect of AI. When one attracts and aggregates a great number of researchers, invites them to interact, and constantly promulgates all of their findings, the probability of a significant breakthrough is increased. My New Age-oriented friends call this the "Group Mind" or "Mastermind" concept. Rosicrucians consider it to be a variation on the cosmic consciousness theme. I believe that human minds, like nuclear reactors, can reach a certain critical mass from which a brilliant idea emerges (instead of an explosion or a meltdown). The latest is that online worlds (the virtual worlds in which our computer-linked children spend so much of their time) being used as AI incubators. This may well ramp up the pace at which AI develops, becomes widely accepted, and becomes more inextricably interwoven in everyday life than anyone had ever imagined. Gaming is a fabulous educational tool, as well. Visit http://edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/edtec670/edgames to learn more about this trend. Science Fiction author Orson Scott Card was truly prescient with his novel, ENDER'S GAME.
3. The virtual office is not only here, but has become quite socially acceptable. A combination of outsourcing, telecommunications, and Internet technology have created an unlimited world, laden with fascinating possibilities unconstrained by space or time. Economically, this phenomenon is lowering the cost of entry for entrepreneurs to compete with the better-established firms in many industry sectors, and creating intensely specialized vertical market competition. Additionally, companies are becoming increasing de-centralized in terms of their management, and commercial real estate (principally office buildings) values may be subject to a downward pricing adjustment. By way of example, visit http://www.virtualmanagementconceptsllc.com/.
4. Personal Branding has become all the rage in marketing and career management. the ultimat objective is to make a person, with his/her unique set of talent and abilities, into a "brand". Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart are living avatars of this phenomenon. with the use of the Internet, this type of opertaion is becoming increasingly inexpensive and easy. Career coaches and personal brand managers abound today, helping us to "market ourselves" and to "accentuate our differentiating characteristics". You may someday find yourself purchasing a fine pair of Douglas Castle socks. Visit Anne Warfield's website at http://www.impressionmanagement.com/ just to gather a quick glance of one aspect of personal branding.
5. Stress (as well as related anxiety and depression) and overweight are affecting an increasing percentage of the world's population. Stress-reduction and weight control are two rapidly growing fields of interest, and a great deal of profit will be made by some imaginative entrepreneurs who can address these maladies successfully, and deliver remedies to an ever-increasing market population.
All the best.
p.s. HAVE YOU JOINED THE INTERNAL ENERGY PLUS Online Community? Click on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/INTERNAL_ENERGY_PLUS/