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Preoccupied with the future? Go back!

Preoccupied with the future? Go back!

Conversation 1: Why is it that business people are so preoccupied with the future?  I don’t mean the I can’t pay my bills future.  I mean the future future.  The: ‘where is my business going in the future kind of thing because I need to get it right.’  I hear about this every day as clients ask me where and how they should be planning for the future.  When they ask me this I say with a shrug “I don’t know” and I have to really work hard to tune out the gasping and the ‘but, but, but what am I paying you guys for.’  I hate to say it but nowhere in our business model does it say that we predict the future.  They think that because we’re a bunch of techies we must know.  I’m only telling you this because this is what I hear all time.  I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future and neither does anyone else and to think that you have to guess it right to be successful is just not very smart.  I’m sorry!  I suppose you could do some research and kind of guess what you think might happen or what direction things are going but, …I seriously doubt you’re going to change too much what you’re doing now …But that’s just me.

I believe that preoccupying yourself with the future is silly and if you’re a business owner you should stop doing it and the sooner the better.  Nobody knows what the future is going to bring.  People have been trying to predict the future in business and politics and, well, . . . just about everything else for centuries and the vast majority of them have been dead wrong, wrong, wrong, time and time again.  By the way, just exactly what and is the future anyway.  Where is that?  How far out are you going.  I know that Microsoft has a think tank where a group of people sit around and think about the future 100-200 years out.  That’s amazing to me and wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on the wall during their discussions.

“Never let the future disturb you.  You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” ~ Marcus Aurelius Antonius (121 AD – 1780 AD)

If you’re smart, and I’m glad that you continued reading so you must be, 🙂 you would be far better off studying the past to prepare for whatever the future holds.  The fact of the matter is this, everyone I know including myself will make old mistakes that have been made many times in the past.  We are not making new mistakes   We make the same mistakes over and over again and all of us will continue to make those mistakes far into the future.  Have you ever heard of making a future mistake?  Or a mistake no one has ever made before.  I don’t think so!  You’ve certainly heard of past mistakes.  Are you worried that the future will pass you buy and you’ll miss something important that may have changed the outcome of your situation?  Oh please!  Who can keep up with the hype of the future.  Nobody can.  I know I sure can’t.  For the most part, the biggest mistake anyone will ever make is usually a failure to act or change and you can fill in the blanks to whatever that means for you.

‘A smart business owner makes a mistake and learns not to make that mistake again.  A wise business owner is one who finds a smart business owner and learns from him how to avoid the mistakes he made.’ ~ Jim Abrams

Study the past mistakes of business people as well as the successes and you will be prepared for whatever the exciting future holds.  Study in reverse.  I can’t tell you what will happen six months from now can you?  I hear things, I can even make some predictions of certain things and I may be accurate but as far as how the future will affect the world, your world. . . . it’s like trying to buy the winning lottery ticket at best so stop wasting time on what the future may hold and study the past.  Preparing is much better than predicting

Example 1: A new client wants to build a website for his business.  Great!  He wanted to know the future of the Internet and websites so that he was ready for whatever it brings.  I said, “Good luck with that and how much money do you have because if you’re not printing money in your basement you don’t have enough.” What?  That’s right.  Guessing the Internet and what will be the newest hottest buzz is going to be tough and expensive and chances are you’ll be wrong and upset.  As an example; who would have thought that nearly 50% of online sales would be done using your phone?  Instead, let’s study the past and build a website around the needs of your customers eliminating all the mistakes from previous website owners.  Let’s study what’s already been built and improve on that.  Let’s look at the successes and failures and learn from them.  This will help you go into the future a lot wiser than trying to guess the future.  For me: build something that’s easy to use for people.  Give them what you think they need, now … Not ten years from now I mean right now, this very minute.  It’s not that difficult.

Example 2: A few years ago I attended The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the biggest buzz for this year was going to be 3D.  3D everything!  Movies, television, sporting events, you name it it was going to be 3D.  Really?  I was surprised and not convinced.  3d annoys me and I rarely watch anything for very long in 3D.  The Olympics were in 3D and it fizzled.  To be completely honest nobody cared but it may be too early to predict what will really happen here.  Here’s the problem with 3D as I see it for everyday use.  Television cameras move too much.  For the Olympics they flip back and forth between events so much your 3D experience is fleeting and annoying.  The constant attention to the glasses bugs me (not to mention the price) and I move around too much to enjoy the experience.  A 3D movie is kind of cool but after awhile it gets old.  I just don’t care that much about it.  Commercials are not in 3D so you’re constantly taking the glasses off and on.  Not for me.

I have to say that I actually don’t like 3D and I’ll never buy a 3D television.  I don’t care how much they improve on it 3D annoys the hell out of me and I don’t need that experience to enjoy a movie or a sporting event.  HD is wonderful, 3D is not.

See what I mean who can predict the future.