Open parentheses

Technology shows up and changes the culture. The culture then enables new industries and movements, which further change the culture. And then technology shows up and puts an end to the system we were all used to.

The parentheses open, and then, perhaps, they close.

The pop-rock parentheses opened with the transistor radio (kids could listen to music without their parents) and closed with streaming (no scarcity meant long tail meant no mass market).

The publishing parentheses opened with Gutenberg and ended with the death of the bookstore. Digital books mean no scarce shelf space, no scarce paper, no power to the publisher, no mass market.

A door opens, and then, one day, it closes.

It’s easy to mourn the end of these eras, but in my lifetime, so many parentheses have opened…

Computers connect us–to resources, to truth and to each other (which can mean folk-truth instead of actual truth)

Medicine is truly a science, not a series of half-understood superstitions

Musicians and writers can find an audience without a gatekeeper

We’ve changed the narrative about fairness (even though we’ve just begun to make progress)

It has never been easier to spread an idea or start an enterprise

Access to information, just about all of it, is cheap and fast

If you care enough to learn something, you can

It’s possible to day trade tragedy and doom, and if it was the best way to make things better, I’d be in favor of it. But with all the doors that have opened, what a chance to make things better. To make something, and to make things better.

HT Kevin Kelly, Chris Anderson, Bernadette JiwaJeff Jarvis, Rohan Rajiv, Paul McGowan, Dan Pink, Roz Zander, David Deutsch and so many others. More on systems thinking in this week’s podcast.

Go start a project.

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