My work on a book chapter this morning led me to put together the following brief list on some major technologies that have popped up in the past decade:
- Google – and the revolution in search technologies that it brought with it – just barely existed ten years ago, and was nowhere near the phenomenon that it has since become.
- iTunes (launched in 2001) and YouTube (launched in 2005), along with a wide range of other tools for easily creating and distributing audio and video files had yet to make their splash.
- Social networks like Facebook (opened to the public in 2006) and Twitter (launched in 2006) simply did not exist.
- Cell phones were still primarily used for making calls, not for surfing the Web, playing games, and myriad other activities.
There is always a lot of buzz and gnashing of teeth about change, but sometimes it does help to stop for a moment, clearly note major changes, and consider what they represent. While some of the names above may change or disappear over time, I don’t think the fundamental shift that they represent will. People can now search – and find – content in many forms about nearly anything. They can easily contribute to the huge mass of findable content. They can connect and communicate with other people pretty much anywhere. They can do all of this while not tied to any particular place.
None of this is going away, and there is just no way it doesn’t have a major impact on how you or I do business.
One of the things I am always struck by when I think about this wave of change is how well the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto – which as written in 1999 – had it pegged in advance, starting (literally) with “Markets are conversations.”
I’m also amazed that when I speak to audiences of business people and ask how many people have heard of – much less read – The Cluetrain Manifesto, only a few hands go up.
If you haven’t already, read it. As I have noted in earlier posts, the entire Cluetrain Manifesto text is available for free.
On top of that, I highly recommend a recent interview that Mitch Joel of Six Pixels of Separation did with Dave Weinberger, one of the Manifesto’s authors: The Cluetrain Manifesto at 10 Years+. The conversation between Joel and Weinberger provides some great insights into where we have been and where we are going. The train rolls on.