Imagining the Future

You know what I love about the internet era? You use software and web sites and online services of all kinds, and when they aren’t perfect you can blog about what you wish they did for you. Then, sometimes within a few weeks or months, the new version appears — joila! — and addresses what you wished for. You don’t get the idea that your particular blog post was read by a particular decision maker at a particular company — so there’s no direct cause-and-effect relationship — but you do get the sense that your post, added to or compounded by other blogs and emails to the company, collectively made a difference, if not in the decision to do something then perhaps in the timing or prioritization of it.

So imagine how happy I was today to learn that the new version of Skype allows you to import your Microsoft Outlook contacts. Last October 20 I wrote:

I’m blogging to give Skype this advice: please allow me to import all the phone numbers in my Outlook file to Skype. I’m lazy. Often I use my cell phone (a Blackberry 7230 from RIM) to make phone calls because all my contacts are one click away. It’s almost instantaneous. I don’t like dialing 10 digits on a desktop phone. If Skype could give me one click access to all my contacts, my usage would skyrocket.

This reminds me of blogging in November 2003 about how Google needed a desktop search engine and then on October 14, 2004 blogging about how they had finally done it.

It feels great to feel a need for something, blog about it, and then watch it happen later, even if there was no cause and effect relationship.

Alan Kay said the best way to predict the future is to invent it. But maybe now the best way to predict the future is to blog about it, so someone else will invent it.

Economist magazine has a 14-page spread this week about how the internet has finally made consumers king, after more than 125 years of retailers giving lip service to the notion that customers are king, now they really are because they can arm themselves with all the information they need before going into a store to make a purchase. Ford reports that 8 of 10 car buyers already know the model they want and the price they are willing to pay before going to a dealership.

As importantly, consumers can now have a greater voice in influencing the development of new products by using the internet, email and blogs to reach product developers with their opinions.

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One Comment

  1. Frank Geiger

    I am still waiting (written about in 1997) for the microwave oven that has a flat screen where the window is so that a college student can park the thing on his desk and cook popcorn while blogging. Microwave… Done. Flat screen… Done. Who will put them together?

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