10 Quotes from What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us

Tim O’Reilly is the CEO and Founder of O’Reilly media, the company which provided the metaphorical pickaxes to the silicon valley boom. O’Reilly also brought into mainstream the terms “Web 2.0” and “Open Source”. Written in 2017, What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us (WTF) discusses the new technologies which have become prominent in the Information Age. He examines the business maps which are enabling current companies to become unicorns and how other companies can create systems which are human focused. While there were a lot of ideas I took from the book to make podcast episodes for 365 Tech by Sweets here’s my top 10:

  1. The Innovators who first brought us the Internet and the open source software that made it possible. They did what they did out of love and curiosity, not a desire to make a fortune

  2. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer… It is the customer who determines what a business is.

  3. The question of whether the next wave of automation will leave enough jobs for humanity is deeply rooted in outdated maps of what counts as paid work, and what we take for granted and expect to be provided for free.

  4. No company, no job – and ultimatly, no government and no economy- is immune to disruption. Computers will manage our money, supervise our children, and have our lives in their “hands” as they drive our automated cars.

  5. The flip side of every problem is an opportunity.

  6. Information doesn’t want to be free. Information wants to be valuable.

  7. Train yourself to recognize when you are looking at the map instead of at the road.

  8. Reality itself is fundamentally unknowable, since what is is always mediated by our nervous system.

  9. If the future is here, just not evenly distributed yet, find the seeds of the future, study them, and ask yourself how things will be different when they are the new normal. What happens if the trend keeps going?

  10. A platform strategy beats an application strategy every time!

One of the tools I take most stock in is the Business Model for the Next Economy which includes:

  • Replacing Materials with Information
  • Magical User Experience
  • Augmented Workers
  • Networked Marketplace Platforms
  • Talent and Resources on Demand
  • Managed by an Algorithm
  • Services on Demand

Another Round of points highlights what makes the “bazaar of open source development” so powerful:

  • An architecture of participation means that your users help to extend your platform
  • Low barriers to experimentation mean that the system is “hacker friendly” for maximum innovation
  • Interoperability means that one component or service can be swapped out if a better one comes along
  • “Lock-in” comes because others depend on the benefit from your services, not because you’re completely in control

To close, “the future is created by people who can make and invent things and those who can tinker and improve and put inventions into practice. These are people who learn by doing” Don’t wait on the future to come. It is already here. We must now decide if we like the future we see. If not, it is our responsibility to invent a better one.

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1 comment

this is truly incredible. i am going to start doing some research and planning if my own. as well as aligning my chakras. thank you for being an innovator, we are everywhere. don’t lose hope.

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