Don’t plan for your future – it’s here already

Your future is in your hands – or at least the life coaches of the world would have us believe that. True enough, how we negotiate our way through life is down to each of us, but other people will impact upon the way we do that. We are not isolated, being able to do exactly as we please.

OK – enough philosophy. Let’s think about the future of online behaviour by looking at past technology. This week saw the 25th Anniversary of the introduction of the CD. The what? Yes, they were small silver disks that had an hour of music on them that you played in a “music centre”. Of course, a mere 25 years since they were launched, they’ve been replaced for many people by MP3s.

DVDs were first introduced in 1997 – just ten years ago. A couple of weeks ago at a conference I was told by one company in the know that DVDs probably have less than a year left. Instead, we’ll be getting our movies via downloadable means. Yes, I know that’s been promised for several years, but Sky already offers an on-demand service and with the use of Ultrawideband technologies due out later this year, movie transfer will be considerably improved.

At the end of last month the hard disk manufacturer, Seagate, announced it was killing off the main type of hard disk used by PCs for the last couple of decades. Indeed, hard disks as a whole look like disappearing within a few years to be replaced by the “solid state” technology you use for your digital camera – memory cards.

These examples show us that the pace of technological change is hotting up. Last year web designers did everything in “flash”, this year they are moving to “XML”. Last year you needed a blog, this year you need a blog with video. Last year you had to have a mobile phone, this year you need mobile Internet.

Yet, there are several people “waiting” for the technology to “stabilise”. Well, get over it, it won’t. Hanging around waiting for it all to settle down will only mean your online competitors will march past you. The old Aesop Fable of the tortoise and the hare does not apply online. You need to act now, make those changes to your web site, your systems and the way you do business online. Otherwise the technology will change yet again and you will be even further behind.

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