Nordic Track Book Club Review: Future, Inc.

Life is all about balance (so I’m told), which is why I’m following the review of a great book like Hot, Flat, and Crowded with one that in my opinion is not so great, Future, Inc.: How Businesses Can Anticipate and Profit from What’s Next. The book was written to instruct business owners how to perform trend analysis to determine possible futures in their industry and how to communicate those changes to the organization.  There are 10 reviews of the book on Amazon, nine 5-star reviews and one 4-star review, but this book just didn’t work for me. Far too few interesting excerpts to justify the book’s time on the [NordicTrack] reading rack. 2-out-of-5 Nordic Track Ski Stars.

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p.27  When you see all parts of a system then you have a much better chance of seeing where the next change will come from.

p.53 Two mentions in Newsweek do not a trend make. To get serious go where the experts go to stay abreast of the cutting edge in their own fields.

p.58 Remember, trends aren’t forecasts. They are just graphical representations of the data thus far collected.

p.91 There is so much going on right now, and we are still feeling the strategic impact of past innovations that is very useful to consider the tactical implications of the next few years on technological changes to our industries. This is another reason why in studying the future your time frame should range from 5 to 20 years.

p.104 Just making a list of trends about current technological sectors (nanotechnology, sustainability, IT, etc.) is important, but for many of us it doesn’t catch our attention until we can put it all together into a simple, clear well-founded scenario showing how people will act in the future.  One of the tricks is to show the reader what is “normal” in the future.

Don’t get caught in the trap that future generations will think as you do.

p.159 There are endless applications for cheap disposable IT. To reduce pesticide use, researchers trained a dog to run through a field and stop wherever the bugs were. They then put a global positioning system tracking device in the dog’s collar. Satellites measured where the dog ran on the field, and that’s where the farmer sprayed.  Pesticide use was cut by 90%.

p.231 Digital devices are mixing “media” into one stream of information, be it text, audio or video.

p.233 If you’re a small company, look sharp. As technology advances and tomorrow’s generation knows computers natively, professional looking media will be less costly to achieve.  More, smaller players will achieve that slick media presence.

 
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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.