The cold December wind blew my son and I into a local vintage shop.
I focused on old comics. He stuck his fingers inside the dial of a red plastic box, removed a heavy object connected to a long coil and asked if it was a phone.
It took me a second to realize this was his first encounter with one of these things.
“How do you send a text with it?” he asked.
Innovation at warp speed
Breathtaking technology advances marked the period from the dawn of the industrial revolution to the launch of Netscape in 1994. We saw the introduction of flight, radio, television, faxing and the personal computer.
Then came the Web. And all of that kind of looked plodding in comparison.
In little more than a decade many of the machines we grew up with became relics. We became untethered from our offices, connected to nearly everyone.
Main Street moved inside our screens. We could walk it, see it, hear it. We could buy anything with a single-click.
But buckle in folks. Because we ain’t seen nothing yet.
The shape of everything to come
Imagine a Stepford world marked by voice activation technology. In time, it will be in every device you have. Your washing machine. Your front door. Your car. Your computer. All will respond to your every command.
Depending on your perspective, this is either frightening or fascinating. Either way, one thing is true: much of the technology you have spent the last ten years getting comfortable with is going to change dramatically and may disappear all together.
How many rotary phones will your grandchildren puzzle over?
The form within which this nascent technology will flower – your mobile handset – already knows where you are, who you know, where you’ve been, where you might like to go, and what you may be interested in buying. “Search” itself is starting to feel like hard work for those who can now simply tell Siri what they want and… get it.
If information like real estate listings can be discoverable this way, then what’s to prevent you from being discovered this way as well? Imagine a buyer standing in front of a home for sale and asking Siri to locate an agent close to her right now for a showing.
Crazy? Glympse this.
Real estate futurama
A year ago, when making a restaurant reservation, I did 95% of it from my laptop. Today, I do 100% of it from my phone. Same for booking a cab. And a myriad of other things – including discovering homes for sale.
Right now, you’re deeply invested in the issues of today. SEO. SEM. Ad Words. Keywords. PageRank. Syndication. WAP versus app.
Important stuff no doubt. At this very moment.
But are you looking around the corner?
In time, young people will wonder why we ever bothered using a search engine. They will chuckle at all those buttons.
There’s a small stretch of road ahead.
It’s time to rev up your lean, mean innovation machine.
And gun it.