It’s 1750 and the steam engine has just been invented. You’re an entrepreneur and 200 years of wealth creation and innovation lie ahead of you. If, in fact you have the wisdom to seize the day and take advantage of such an obvious entrepreneurial opportunity. Wow, wouldn’t it be nice if we had that opportunity. If we were there at that time to make a difference.
It’s 1976 and the personal computing revolution is about to begin. Two weird looking kids from the East coast of America are about to embark upon their foray into the micro computer revolution – as it was then known. Tech utopian hippy Steve Jobs, and William Gates the 3rd, a pencil neck nerd from Seattle with a pair of glasses 17 times too big for his head get busy and pretty much show large industrials like HP and IBM how it is done. They end up among the world’s richest people. Wow, wouldn’t it be nice if we could turn back the clock and be there for that revolution. It was such an obvious play.
It’s 1991 and that thing called the internet has just been opened up for commercial use for the first time. People like Marc Andresseen and Sir Tim Berners Lee invent ways for everyday humans to use this amazing tool. They forge a path for a new internet boom that lasted most of the 1990’s. A fire was lit and fortunes were both made and lost. Anyone with a .com and a half baked business plan could make a fortune. Some of the fortunes weren’t bubbles. Early dot com doyens Bezos and Omidyar, held onto theirs by creating something of real value. Wouldn’t it have been good to be there then? Just a short 20 years ago to cash in on those boom times.
It’s 2004, and dorm rooms around the country are giving birth to the social network era. Simple ideas of creating connections for people, and not just commerce. They are creating a rebirth of the dot com – dot gone bust memoirs of 1999. It turned out this internet thing wasn’t a fad after all. But so many of us got burned in the boom that we just didn’t believe the hype the second time round. By the time we realised that social was in fact commercial, the game was already won. Zuckerberg and others started with micro communities and worked six degrees of separation into six degrees of domination. It was the last clear play of the internet and we missed that one too. Wouldn’t it have been good to just jump on board a little bit sooner, forge a path into connected society and make a dint in the universe?
It’s 2014 and right now 2014, is the metaphorical equivalent of 1750, 1976, 1991, 2004 and any other period when a step change happened technology. In fact, the increasing pace of change means that the steps are arriving quicker. Any number of opportunities exist today that are as big as those written above, and all of them are yet to find their Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. 3D Printing, Web of things, The Energy Internet, the Quantified Self, Block Chain technology and more are all open for their defining entrepreneurs to own them. Which means you don’t have to wish you were there then, because you are here right now. So the only question remaining is what are you going to do about it?