Sarah, one of my clients, always feels like she’s behind. On her to-do list, on her way to meetings, on her plans to be a better leader. She’s shared this overwhelming feeling that the world just seems to be moving too fast. And according to the new book, Thomas Friedman’s “Thank-you for being late: An optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations”, that feeling won’t be easing up any time soon.
A few factors that have contributed to this warp speed feeling:
- Moore’s Law: The complexity for minimum component costs has increase at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year
- Technology: transistors, integrated circuits, microprocessors, sensors, internet of things, WiFi, storage, memory, DRAM, Hadoop, GitHub, networks, cellphones, smartphones, CDMA, TDMA, 3G,4G,5G, the cloud
- Platforms: the motto in Silicon Valley today is: everything that is analog is now being digitized, everything that is being digitized is now being stored, everything that is stored is now being analyzed by software on these more powerful computing systems, and all the learning is being immediately applied to old things in fundamentally new ways.
The book is overwhelming, but there’s a great 8-minute animated book summary to watch when you’re sitting at your overwhelmed by the pace of change. It helps! But here’s the question:
“Now that we have defined the age of accelerations, two questions come to mind – one primal, and one intellectual. The primal one is this: Are things just getting too damned fast? The intellectual one is: Since the technological forces driving this change in the pace of change are not likely to slow down, how do we adapt?”
Sarah and I are still adjusting to the idea that this acceleration of change (so darn fast) is going to just keep coming and coming to grips with how we will cope. Friedman gives this final piece of advice
“But it is impossible for me to believe that with so many more people now empowered to invent, compete, create, and collaborate, with so many more cheap and powerful tools enabling us to optimize social and commercial and government interactions, that we won’t develop the capability to solve the big social and healthy problems in the world and that, in the process, we won’t be able to find ways for humans to become even more resilient, productive, prosperous as they are reinforced by intelligent machines”