You’ve heard of Moore’s Law, right?
It’s the 1965 estimate by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that computing power will double every 18 months to two years, and it’s the framework for the new book The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. Moore initially predicted that his estimate would hold true for about 10 years. He was off by about four decades. It holds true to this day, and it’s the reason why the world is as chaotic and complex as it is.
Fifteen years ago, how many of us could have wrapped our brains around concepts like Siri, or Google Glass, or driverless cars? Today’s iPhones are as powerful as Apple’s top-of-the-line laptops were 10 years ago. The latest iPad is faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer was in 1985. Thinking about stuff like that makes me dizzy, so I’m pretty sure that whatever comes next will make my head explode.
It will also turn each of our jobs upside down. Need proof? Ask a journalist, or a recording industry executive, or whoever’s in charge of the U.S. Postal Service. The day will come, I swear to God, when filing a tax return — any tax return — will be a completely automated process. What will happen to tax-pro CPAs when that day arrives?
If they’re smart, they’re not waiting to find out. They’re figuring out right now how to add new value to their clients’ lives once their traditional services have become outdated and automated. If you’re not doing that future-focused work, you’re putting yourself at risk of irrelevancy at best … and extinction at worst.
In The Second Machine Age, Intel executive Mike Marberry is quoted as follows: “If you’re only using the same technology, then in principle you run into limits.”
That’s putting it mildly. If you’re only using the same technology, you’re a dinosaur.
We talk extensively about “keeping up” with the latest trends, but what good is that? I had this discussion with Jason Blumer and Greg Kyte as part of the January edition of the Thriveal CPA Network’s “Thrivecast,” and we all reached pretty much the same conclusion: Keeping up is an exercise in futility. If you’re just keeping up, that means someone else is always ahead of you. If your only goal is to keep up with things like social media, mobile technologies, cloud computing, and Big Data, what’s your plan for the day when they evolve into The Next Big Thing?
Stop keeping up. Start setting the pace. Make sure you’re building in time to look to the horizon and scan for the weak signals of disruptive change.
I don’t care what you do for a living — technology is now the foundation upon which you do it. And that foundation is constantly changing.
Change with it, or everything you’ve built will crumble.