I Am Thinking The Exact Same Thing Right Now

John Battelle is currently embarking on a new book, titled What We Have Wrought.  In it he is attempting to write a narrative of the perspective in 2040, a generation ahead who is looking back on the last 30 years of progress back to today.  As he describes our situation, I stumbled upon this and fully agree with him:

I believe we are in a critical moment in our civilization’s development, one where we will face a number of fateful decisions about how we interact with each other, with business, and with government. The decisions we make during this period will frame the kind of world we’ll leave to future generations. Who will control the data we create? What access will we allow citizens to the machinations of government? What kind of people will we become when every single one of us is deeply connected to a socially aware platform like Facebook? Are we building systems – in healthcare, energy, finance – that are too complicated for any of us to understand, much less control?

In short, can we handle what we are creating? Thirty or so years from now, will we be questioning ourselves – “Lord, what hath we wrought?” Or will we look upon what we hath wrought, and be pleased? I think the answer lies in exploring where we are, right now, and laying out the implications of our actions today.

A longer post from me on these thoughts will follow, but go ahead and ponder those words for a moment.

Be Iconclastic

Ever look at prominent figures in the world and wonder how they stand out from all the rest?  I believe it comes down to how they think.   I believe you can think like them too.  Or.  Not.  Like.  Them..?    At this point, you may not know what the word Iconclast means, but by the end of this post I hope you will be inclined to think a bit differently.

Gregory Burns talks about people who do things others say can’t be done in his book Iconclast – A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently .  He calls them Iconclasts.

He succinctly describes being an iconclast hinges on 3 things: perception, courage and social skills.

The successful iconclast learns to see things clearly for what they are and are not influenced by other peoples options.  He keeps his amydala in check and does not let fear rule his decisions.  And he expertly navigates the complicated waters of social networking so that other people eventually come to see things the way he does.

If you are like me you’ll want a shorter and easier way to remember the word:

Thinking different is so easy, yet it baffles me how many people do the exact opposite.  They think the same as everyone else.  For some reason they don’t want to be different.  They don’t want to separate themselves from the crowd for they just might have to form an opinion.   They think the same as their neighbor, their classmates, the same as their teammates and they even the same as their competitors.  To me this is just crazy and a recipe for averagism.

Seriously, when did it become generally accepted to think the same as your competitor?  I am pretty sure this type of thinking did not go on in the days of early civilization.  If someone did I guarantee they we’re quickly eliminated…  Thinking the same as the competition is what gets us all these copy-cat products that flood the market.  How many different Groupon competitors do we need?  How many different brands of ‘Bran Flakes’ Cereal is enough.  I could go on and on, but I won’t because I’m not here to inspire you to copy others.  My goal is to inspire you to think differently.  And since we all are capable of thinking… being an Iconclast is now up to you and your thoughts.

Perception

Berns describes in detail how our brains actually perceive thoughts.  Being too scientific for this post, I will only encourage you to buy and read the book for yourself.  But to paraphrase: because we learn from past experiences and past experiences shapes both our perception and our imagination, we tend to constrain our views on things as we grow older.  This is not good for much of anything, but most importantly you will begin lose your creativity.  As time goes on you start to see the same things as everyone else.  And if you see everything others are seeing, you are not to unique.  How are you supposed to be innovative when you see just the same as the others?  Berns suggests we continue to bombard to brain with new experiences.

I suggest running the exact opposite direction as everyone else.  I have always been attracted to uniqueness.  It doesn’t have to be anything eccentric, just being different.   Everyone staying in their safe job because of the recession…  quit yours and pursue your dream of building a company.  You will have a leg up since most others are going in the opposite direction.  Seeing a lot of other companies are offering “daily deals for X” and “social networking for Y”?  Why not have an original vision and do something different?   Most importantly, get out of the daily routine you have slipped into over the last 8 years.  Take Berns advice and change your life.  Create new experiences.  Iconclasts do this and succeed.

Fear

Plain and simple, humans hate fear and live everyday to avoid the feeling.  Fear prevents people from taking action, and even worse it changes the way they see the world.  The ultimate underpinnings of fear is failure, which is the strongest force inconclasts overcome.  Berns notes fear permeates any business and should only be taken as a warning sign.  Once the fear is recognized, it can be deconstructed and reappraised.  So there you go – everyone experiences fear.  Inconclasts dissect it and figure out what it is actually pointing to.  Then they act accordingly.

Here’s my take:  Most people in the world are scared, weak overgrown children.  Sorry to be so blunt, but this is what I have picked up over the years.  Just as we tried to fit in with the “cool” kids on the playground during recess, we go about our lives in constant fear of what people think.  Most people never live as an independent thinker because they are so worried of what other people will think about them.

I say “who gives a @#$% “and “Screw what they think“.  Why do you care what some random guy thinks about you or your idea?  Here’s the truth: One minute after you leave the conversation he will forget what his opinion of your idea was.  He has enough to care about in his life, why would he waste time thinking about you?

Here is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, an Iconclast I have always looked up to referring to his willingness to be misunderstood.  He has no fear of failure:

If you invent frequently and are willing to fail, then you never get to that point where you really need to bet the whole company. AWS also started about six or seven years ago. We are planting more seeds right now, and it is too early to talk about them, but we are going to continue to plant seeds. And I can guarantee you that everything we do will not work. And, I am never concerned about that…. We are stubbon on vision. We are flexible on details…. We don’t give up on things easily. Our third party seller business is an example of that. It took us three tries to get the third party seller business to work. We didn’t give up.

My mind never lets me get in a place where I think we can’t afford to take these bets, because the bad case never seems that bad to me. And, I think to have that point of view, requires a corporate culture that does a few things. I don’t think every company can do that, can take that point of view. A big piece of the story we tell ourselves about who we are, is that we are willing to invent. We are willing to think long-term. We start with the customer and work backwards. And, very importantly, we are willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.

I believe if you don’t have that set of things in your corporate culture, then you can’t do large-scale invention. You can do incremental invention, which is critically important for any company. But it is very difficult — if you are not willing to be misunderstood. People will misunderstand you.

Any time you do something big, that’s disruptive — Kindle, AWS — there will be critics. And there will be at least two kinds of critics. There will be well-meaning critics who genuinely misunderstand what you are doing or genuinely have a different opinion. And there will be the self-interested critics that have a vested interest in not liking what you are doing and they will have reason to misunderstand. And you have to be willing to ignore both types of critics. You listen to them, because you want to see, always testing, is it possible they are right?

But if you hold back and you say, ‘No, we believe in this vision,’ then you just stay heads down, stay focused and you build out your vision.

Social Networking

To be successful, it comes down to one’s ability to connect with other people.  Two aspects of social intelligence figure prominently in success or failure: familiarity and reputation.  Incidentally the two are interconnected, since in order to sell your ideas you must create a positive reputation that will draw people toward what is initially unfamiliar and potentially scary.  Familiarity helps build your reputation.  Simply put: to get their ideas into the mass market iconclasts must be able to connect with people.

Think about someone right now who you admire and feel they are a “success” in your eyes.  And now ask yourself this: “Are they good with people?  Do they know how to navigate the social waters?”  I guarantee they (or someone they are close to) understands this principal.  Being an iconclast, thinking different, changing your perception, and dealing with your fear will only get you so far.  I would argue being great in the people department completes the package and helps you rise to prominence.

If you have been reading the words Think Different and imagining a certain company, I am sure you are not alone.  It’s not a coincidence the largest Technology company and one of the most recognizable brands in the world adopted that phrase in most of their marketing.  Apple thinks differently.  I believe the Different Thinking of their founder Steve Jobs is the sole reason they are where they are today. I will leave you with a video that sends chills down my spine.  It is one of the early Apple commercials and the first one in which they used the term Think Different.  Enjoy.

 


Prediction: There Will Be No Bubble

Update: This was republished on BusinessInsider.com.

You do realize it’s us, with our words, who actually create the Bubbles we will then loathe.   Yes – you, me, all of us… we create the hysteria and the irrational exuberance necessary for a “bubble” to actually form.  If we can just refrain from the word this time, maybe better things will happen.  Plain and simple.  I know the conspiracy theorists out there will indeed flame up the comments with a variety of criticism – and that’s fine, commentary is a good thing.  But I argue we are not going to see a bubble since we just entered the Golden Ages of the Internet.  Don’t want to take my word for it?  Let’s go ahead and use some logic backed by historical analysis to peel this onion a bit.  We’ll see what can come of it since I think it’s better than just running around yelling BUBBLE every time a round of funding is raised or a new company rings the opening bell.

In my recent article, The Evolution of the Tech Bubble, I referred to the book Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital by Carlota Perez.  I have to say again, quite an amazing book.  On a surface level I described the general phases of each cycle (Irruption, Frenzy, Synergy, Maturity) and laid out a nice framework to grasp the magnitudes and movements of the cycle.  I will now go deeper in an effort to bust this silly Bubble talk.

As you can see, our economy has gone through 5 major cycles since the late 1700’s.

1) 1770s through the 1820s – water power and introduced factories and canals, primarily in Britain.

2) 1820s to the 1870s – the age of steam, coal, iron, and railways.

3) 1870’s through about 1910 – steel and heavy engineering.

4) 1910 through 1980 –  the rise of the automobile, petroleum-based materials, the assembly line, and the motion picture and television.

5) Our current cycle began around 1970 – based on silicon: the integrated circuit, the digital computer, globaltelecommunications and the Internet.

These are not my opinions, Perez illustrates through factual analysis each cycle lasted roughly 60 or 70 years.  I argued we have just entered the Synergy phase of the fifth cycle, probably sometime in the mid 2000’s.  Like it or not, this means the core paradigm (the internet) is about to spread into every corner of your life.  This period is pleasantly referred to as a Golden Age.  The image to the right provides a view of the Synergy and maturity phases, which together last 20 or 30 years.  There’s the internet, going into everything around you.  One thing to note here, the financial recession we just experienced is not directly correlated to these cycles.  I am not passing off the idea that sometimes things rise and fall unexpectedly.  It happened, and will happen again.  The image used in my previous post illustrates the  rate of diffusion of a technology into a society, not the rise in markets or a bubble, per se.

Here is what I think will happen next and why it will be mind blowing.

Fred Wilson recently stated at TechCrunch Disrupt we will very soon experience an incredible cultural revolution on a level we might not realize yet.  Many things will be created to challenge the establishment (think Egypt) and new applications will change your life in very profound ways.

How do I know?  Take a look at what happened the last time we were sitting in this position.

 The car was at the heart of the last technology surge, based on mass production, which started in 1908 with Henry Ford’s Model T. The installation phase was about increasing car ownership and building road networks. The crash came quite early, and the deployment phase was delayed by depression and war. But the deployment phase was the period in which the suburbs evolved and supermarkets became the dominant mode of food distribution and retail.

Looking back, we realize it was because of the automobile (transportation) we now have suburbs, supermarkets and shopping malls.  Now think of the Interstate network, and how important it was to connecting our country.  Thankfully, this is how you can easily have food on your table…  which you bought from the supermarket… which you drove to in your automobile.

Yes, it is amazing.  And it’s all small potatoes compared to what is going to happen next.

Applying that perspective to today’s environment you can now start to grasp the notion we just entered the Golden Age.  Mass adoption of the internet, real time communications and real time data will create adjacent industries we haven’t even thought of yet.  Just ask Reid Hoffman what he thinks about this subject.  For the first time in human civilization 2 billion, maybe even 3 billion people will all be connected on one platform.  Almost a third of our world population is online or using some sort of connected device.  This is even more moving: in the emerging markets of China, India, Brazil, Russia, and dozens of smaller developing nations, a billion people will soon enter the expanding global middle class.

Do you even realize the magnitude of what this will do to our global society? Place communication technologies on that platform.  Include a way to exchange currency and do commerce.  Find a way to locate a mobile device, right down to a 10 foot radius.  Now imagine three billion people using this each day!  Not everything will be rosy, but I argue it will be golden.  For a little economic context, in the year 2000 the AOL/Time warner merger was at the time valued at $350 billion with AOL having roughly 30 million subscribers.

If you look back at the previous 4 cycles, it’s important to keep in mind how little of role communication technologies played.  This is not something to overlook.  Until the fourth phase (early 20th century) people were isolated on their own continents, lest they endured a few months boat ride to a new world.  They were also confined to their local flea market if they couldn’t snag a horse ride.  And information was short supply, limited to neighborhood gossip and a letter which mostly arrived too little too late.

Today, only 1oo short years later, I am theoretically one finger swipe away from anyone in the world (or 2 billion at least).  I can video chat with someone in remote Africa, literally seeing them as we talk while they are on another continent.  I can learn about an earthquake that hit another part of the world less than one minute after it happened.  If you are reading this on your mobile and wanted to buy Perez’s book right now from a random person on the East Coast, an Amazon transaction will take you less than 30 seconds and you will be back reading this next sentence before you know it.

Take a step back and juxtapose those last 2 paragraphs.  This is why I recently quit my job and finally got serious about building something.  I am pretty excited to see what this synergy phase will bring out from within us.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t pretend to know the future. But I am using solid facts from the past to help me gauge where things might be going.  If you are not serious about doing something amazing, now might be the time to reconsider.

Referencing my last article on the Bubble subject, the Frenzy period was characterized by individualism, excessive investment and miraculous manipulation of wealth.  These ridiculous actions create Bubbles.   Since the foundation of the web is already in place, this Synergy period is a time of Production.  It is because economies of scale, maturation of the core technology and a new understanding of our global network we will not see a bubble burst.

I will leave you with a thought from Perez:

Whatever time it takes to set up the framework to overcome the recession, the beginning of Deployment is usually characterized by synergistic growth, extension of markets and increasing employment.

Bubble schmuble…  can we just stop saying that word?  I suggest we start using the words Internet Golden Age.

Image courtesy of Flickr user timtom.ch

Look at Them Apples

Apple is just HUGE.  Just think about it for a second… iphones, ipods, ipads, macbooks, itunes, they are everywhere.  Apple is now said to be lager than Microsoft and Intel, combined.   Below is a view of Apple’s stock for the last few years, up and to the right.  This has just been amazing to watch.  When will it end?

The Crest of Web 3.0 is Upon Us

I recently authored a post on Businessinsider.com titled The Evolution of The Tech Bubble.  In fact, it was a re-post of the article here on So Entrepreneurial titled Bubbles and Golden Ages.  My main goal was to take a larger glance as what we call Bubbles, and to provide some context to the inevitability of a technological paradigm and its lifecycle.  It was indeed a birds eye view, and with each phase the possibility remains where one could dive further into the details.  Thankfully, that was done for me.

Jasephase, a commenter on the Business Insider piece, has provided us longer perspective on current times using the Bubble framework I provided earlier.  Jasephase lays out a more in-depth perspective, postulating we are on the crest of Web 3.0.  My takeaway: “The trick is to look past the crest into the subtler currents to extract the themes of Web3.0 and make the Google or Facebook that will in effect become the next Web3.0 Titan.”  Well said.

jasephase on May 27, 7:17 AM said:

I realize this is incredibly long – it’s what happens when a little free time in otherwise very busy days mixes with the first coffee in months…

I have been working, by that I mean visualizing the future, through goggles strikingly similar to these for the last five years.

I agree with the author in that we are, in large part, in the synergy phase. I lose him when he reaches his ‘Maturity’ argument, in effect dismissing maturity as not occurring in the present time but 60 years in the future. I believe the paradigm he is employing here, ‘the internet’, is far too broad a subject to practically inform our thinking and actions now. But the pattern is useful.

As I see it, ‘the internet’ as a whole is, yes, in the synergy phase right now. But we can very easily break the internet up into its own phases: Web 1.0, which I would say came into focus with Google and had its own ‘bubble’.  Then, Web 2.0, the poster child of which is Facebook and social in general, which is bubbling now and may or may not burst as much as peter out. And then finally the predestined semweb, the first faces of which we are seeing now in products that bridge the gap between old and new media, between 1.0, 2.0, and even the early stages of 3.0, between social and local, between social and knowledge, between social and professional, between social and commerce, e.g., Foursquare, Quora, LinkedIn, Twitter, GroupOn, Yelp!, Square…

Thus, I would say that Web 2.0 is in its synergistic phase now, whereas everything Web 1.0 is already quite snug in its maturation phase. Hence Google’s plateau or incremental improvements (which I would argue point to long-term decline and an inevitable dropping stock price (not due just to a changing of the guard and internal restructuring)). Of course some 1.0 companies are making the shift, like Amazon, but others, like eBay, are not. Bezos can pivot and drive for the hoop at the same time.

Still, Amazon and Google are primarily single-value, long-tail companies with a lot of features and secondary products. But if you remove their core value proposition: eCommerce and search, they are dead in the water, networks without a hub. While they are polymaths, they are limited. Apple on the other hand consistently creates entirely new markets for itself to swim through, but that’s a whole other chapter…

Anyway, back to synergy and maturation. I think that this article’s graph of the internet’s growth resembles the period of a Y=sinX curve from x=0 to x=pi/2, but that a Y=X+sinX wavy step function would be much more indicative of a Web1.0, Web2.0, and semweb reality (it’s been a while so my math might be off…). Or better yet, instead of one line, envision the constructive/destructive interference patterns of three or more curves plotted to represent their respective perspectives. In such a system I think we will find that Web1.0 is in maturation, Web2.0 is in synergy, and Web3.0 is in its earliest stage (perhaps situated within the synergy phase of the internet as a whole – but that is a bigger claim than I would make or justify – history and evolution are slippery).

Furthermore, as each 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 wave is interconnected and evidence for maturation and growth are present even in the synergistic crest, we tend to focus only on the crests (on the valuations and IPOs of LinkedIn, GroupOn, Facebook, etc…) while the subtler, smaller stories, such as the maturation of 1.0 and the growth of 3.0 waves, are obscured. Still, if we look past the bubble at the larger picture, we can reasonably foresee or feel-out a timeframe in which 3.0 will start to grow. I would argue that the catalyst for that is the 2.0 crest we are experiencing right now.

Let me expand on that. I believe that the boom of Web1.0 was the activation energy required to begin a Web2.0 phase transition, and that the current boom of Web2.0 will supply the energy necessary to get Web3.0 started. Yet we will not see the accelerated growth of Web3.0 until Web2.0’s growth decelerates. Causation is funny, chicken or the egg. Which comes first: the development of Web3.0 currents or the dissolution of Web2.0 energies? Does Web2.0 by its very nature sew the seeds for its own destruction…? Again, I would argue that it is the dissolution of relative power and of the investment of new capital and of manpower in the 1.0 companies that provides the opportunity for such drastic Web2.0 growth now. Furthermore, if we were to integrate the heights of the inflection point (entrance to maturation) of Web1.0 we get the incredibly steeply-sloped pace of growth for Web2.0. Been a long time since math…

Anyway, evidence for this: read through the lists of every Y Combinator and TechCrunch Disrupt startup – not a single one is doing anything revolutionary or interestingly new. They are all competing to build the best nifty/gimmicky features of Web2.0. They are all trying to ride the same wave. Without forcing these trends into some value-system, this is a ‘good’ thing, a necessary step for evolution of Web3.0. The higher Web2.0 goes and the faster it tips, the sooner and faster Web3.0 will be born. It will be the collective weight of all these startups, the investment of VC, and the mass of incremental innovations they bring to the table that will bring Web2.0 to its crest quickly and eventually take the wind out its sails. So I’m redunant.

Just as no VC is going to fund the next big search engine, neither will the next big social site or deals site find funding. The forces that be effectively crowd out the competition. A startup’s fate in this atmosphere is inevitable (read planned) obsolescence or assimilation into one of the borgs (Google or Facebook…). Thus innovation will peter out, which will lead to the maturation phase of Web2.0, the shifting sights (sites) of VC and entrepreneur alike, and the emergence of the 3.0 startup, to whom the current titans will appear as old media to be disrupted. Google is the dinosaur now, playing at arguably the same game as Microsoft – dead in the water, searching for a board to hang onto so as not to sink.

Seeing all this is the easy part. Making a successful startup in today’s environment, then, is even that much easier, just network, just game the system (like trading in Diablo II, or convincing our old landlord to let us rent the house). The trick is to look past the crest into the subtler currents to extract the themes of Web3.0 and make the Google or Facebook that will in effect become the next Web3.0 Titan.

What will that look like? Who is in that space now? How will it articulate with current industry? What old media will be disrupted? One thing I can tell for sure is that Google is a Sisyphus to keep on chasing a social dream. Likewise, while Facebook’s capitalization on the social graph and social search is still in its infancy and there’s no real telling how far its synergy phase will go, it is still just following the dreams of Web2.0. As of yet there is no competition (glances over my shoulder to see if Apple is listening) in the Web3.0 space, everyone is focused completely on Web2.0. Opportunity?!

Bubbles and Golden Ages

Update: This post has been republished on www.businessinsider.com.

I once watched an interview where angel investor Fred Wilson offhandedly noted reading a book which transformed the way he looked at markets and the web in general.  I instantly went to Amazon and ordered it and spent the next week reading it front to back.  Whew… it changed my life as well.  I up and quit my job the next month.  Thanks Fred.

Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital by Carlota Perez is one of the greatest overviews of the incredible economic phenomenon known as the bubble.   What we are currently going though – recessions and expansions, bubbles and bursts, highs and lows, whatever you want to call them – they are inevitable.  In fact, the history of the entire world economy is one big cycle which repeats itself over a period of about 60 years.  I cannot do this entire book justice, just take my word for it, go buy it and read it yourself.  You will publicly thank me later just as I just thanked Fred now.  But I will introduce the general phases a new technology (paradigm) encounters so the “layman” technologist, marketer, social media guru or business person can start to see a clearer economic picture.

I hope I am not being too being blunt, but without grasping this concept you are swimming with your cap over your eyes.  You need to understand what is actually going on in this crazy economic world.

Irruption

As a new technology is developed and deployed into our society, it will enter a cycle of adoption.  Interestingly, Perez notes new technologies are created during the maturity phase of the last great technology expansion.  So although we are starting with the irruption phase, let us take for granted the specific technology has already been created and diffused through very early adopter communities.  During the irruption phase, we see a slowing or declining of the old industries and an early adoption of a new technology.  Carlota notes:

The very intense activity of the new paradigm carriers contrast more and more with the decline of the old industries.  A techno-economic split takes place from then on, threatening the survival of the obsolete and creating conditions that will force modernization.

Old print media anyone?  This irruption phase is started with a big bang (invention and initial diffusion) and will propagate within a small community of early adopters.  Note the image above, depicting very low diffusion, even to a point the general masses dismissing the technology altogether.  Amazingly it is contained within this tight group of people and industries for some period of time.  That is until a tipping point is hit.

Frenzy

Frenzy is a period of massive growth for a new technology.  It is a time of new market creation as well as for rejuvenating old industries.  Once a critical mass of consumers have been hit, the diffusion of the paradigm takes center stage.  Individualism rules the land, as does speculation, wealth creation and ultimately resulting in over-investment flooding the market.   

Frenzy is the later phase of the installation period.  It is a time of new millionaires at one end and growing exclusion at the other, as in the 1880’s to 1890’s, the 1920’s and the 1990’s.   In this phase, financial capital takes over; its immediate interests overule the operation of the whole system.

Notice the part about the growing polarization between the rich and the poor.  Sound familiar?  Capital investments soar during this time, creating a false sense of wealth creation.  This craze attracts more and more individuals wanting to get a piece of the action; so late frenzy is financial bubble time.

Turning point

At some point, the bubble has to burst.   Things that go up must come back down.  Interestingly, the turning point is neither an event or a phase, rather it is a process of contextual change. 

The turning point has to do with the balance between individual and social interests within capitalism.  It is the swing of the pendulum from the extreme individualism of Frenzy to giving greater attention to collective well being, usually through the regulatory intervention of the state and the active participation of other forms of civil society.

The turning point is a space for social rethinking and reconcidering.  It is, in fact, the time when the mode of growth that will shape the next few decades is defined.  I would argue we have been in this phase for a while, maybe starting 5-8 years ago After picking up the pieces of the crash of the early 2000’s we are now starting to see realignment in almost every industry known to man.  Name an industry that is not currently being touched by the internet?  Exactly.



Synergy

This is a time for production.  Since the foundations and infrastructures were laid out during the previous phases, conditions are there for dynamic expansion and economies of scale.   The diffusion of the new paradigm now reaches far and wide, is accepted as standard, and now governs supreme.  It is a time for promise, work and hope.  For many, the future looks bright.   

Synergy is the early half of the deployment period.  This phase can be the true ‘golden age’.  It is likely to be the closest the system ever comes to convergence within the economy of the core countries of the system.

Mary Meeker anyone?  She has identified this expansion phase quite eloquently, particularly in the mobile space.  I would argue we are still at the turning point but on the cusp of this synergy phase.  We should expect to observe massive expansion and economies of scale in almost every industry imaginable for the next few decades.  New industries and markets will emerge.  Old ones will finally die off.  Will it be all golden?  I am not so sure.  But if history is any indication, we shall see an expansion of scale only experienced once every 60 or 70 years. 

It was this exact point in the book which urged me finally jump off the fence and into my entrepreneurial pursuits full time.      

Maturity

Once again, the cycle continues.  Every paradigm has a shelf life and can only survive so long.  As it enters maturity, deep questions are asked about the system and the climate is favorable for politics and ideological confrontation.  Markets are saturating and technologies are maturing.  

Gradually the paradigm is taken to its ultimate consequences until it shows up its limitations... yet all the signs of prosperity are still around.  Those who reaped the full benefits of the ‘golden age’ continue to hold onto their belief in the virtues of the system and to proclaim eternal and unstoppable progress, in a complacent blindness, which could be called the ‘Great Society Syndrome’.

During maturity, the stage is set for the decline of the whole mode of growth and for the next technological revolution.  Since we are entering a synergy phase, I will not spend much time on maturity.  According to Perez, the next maturity phase should not be entered for quite some time and the decline of our current paradigm should not influence ones innovation or investment perspective.  Yet it is always smart to keep an eye on something like this.  Interestingly, it is in this period inventors and innovators are tinkering with what will eventually become the next great paradigm.  This begs the question:  What will supplant the internet?  I would suggest not worrying much about the answer to that question and take advantage of the current conditions.  According to Perez, it should be quite good for years to come.