Dangerous Digital Tunnelvision

Winners and Losers

I read about Michael Milken making half a billion dollars in the eighties. I saw my boomer brethren getting rich in that decade. I just thought it wasn’t my turn yet. Or to quote Led Zeppelin, my time was gonna come.

The joke was on me. As the years wore on you could only become truly rich if you were involved in finance. As for the rest of us, James McMurtry had it right, we can’t make it here anymore.

That news will come as a shock to everyone who made good in the past several decades both outside of finance and outside of the assorted technology industries.

Jobs fight: Haves vs. the have-nots

“The spread of computers and the Internet will put jobs in two categories,” Andreessen says. “People who tell computers what to do, and people who are told by computers what to do.”

I will take him at his word that he meant jobs. A job is something you are paid to do within an organization.

There will always be plenty of opportunities outside of organizations.

This is why I started the iPeople blog.

Had pundits existed back then, telegraphy, telephony, and transportation would’ve been the things to get into. They would have been the future and everyone else would starve.

What nonsense.

I haven’t published it yet (because it requires a great deal of OCR cleanup that I haven’t mustered the strength for), but I have the tale of someone who made a fortune in the grocery business. That was not his choice of a career, either. Update: That post is now published here.

In fact, many of the people I’ve been reading about emphasize that you should never wait for your choice to come along when there are excellent opportunities right where you are.

That was the whole point of the book Acres of Diamonds, which you should now run off to get and read from Project Gutenberg. It’s a short book. It will make you think. And it will make you stop listening to all the people who think they know what the future — and especially your future — will be.

As Steve Averill put it, “Find your freakin’ crab.”

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Dangerous Digital Tunnelvision

  1. Ric Day

    I have a Chinese friend who, in the 1980s, went against the technology grain. He figured he didn’t know or understand enough to get into the clone computer game. So while everyone else was selling Apple ][ clones to America and Europe, he took a vacation and went to West Africa.

    He came back and started manufacturing cheap, solid, cast-iron products. Kettles you could heat on a fire. Irons you could fill with hot coals and iron clothes. Chains and basic iron padlocks to protect bicycles. And so on. He micro-financed small importers in Nigeria, Ghana… and today he’s worth some hundreds of millions. Because he totally ignored the pundits and looked places everyone was ignoring, then gave people in those places durable things they needed, made well and inexpensively.

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