The following is a guest post from Larry Fish, CFO Consultant for
The CEO’s Right Hand
Welcome to the “Acceleration Revolution.” While it won’t be televised (as in our archaic definition of television), it will be Tweeted, Periscoped, Facebook-Lived, Instagrammed, Snap-Chatted, Googled, Rokued, shared, liked, un-liked, bent, spindled, and mutilated at such an ACCELERATED rate, that if you do not jump on board immediately, you will miss the opportunity and be left in the past, with the relevancy of a fax machine salesperson. Yes, that is one heck of a run-on sentence, but it is also an indication of how quickly things are accelerating. There is barely time for proper sentence structure.
The Way It Was
10,000 years ago, the world experienced the “Neolithic Revolution,” the transition from a hunter-gather society to an agriculture-based one. While hunter-gather societies were tribal and based on survival, agricultural ones allowed for greater population density and the accumulation of wealth, from the selling of the production. However, all that wealth was limited to landowners, as they controlled the means of production. This wealth concentration caused a distinct societal split between the land-owning aristocrats and the worker-serf proletariat.
How it Changed
Around 1760, the world entered the “Industrial Revolution,” the transition to a manufacturing-based society. For the first time in history, the standard of living for the general population began to consistently increase, as a result. Once again, though, the massive wealth accumulation ended up with the owners of the means of production – factories, transportation, and energy production. During this time, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller covered the landscape with car factories, steel plants, railroads, and oil refineries, employed a lot of Americans, and became very wealthy.
The Way It Is Today
A few generations later, a new industry “Information Technology” appeared on the scene, brought to us by the likes of Xerox, International Business Machines (IBM) and Texas Instruments. Heralded as the “Information Revolution” (a/k/a Technical Revolution), the stage was set for Bill Gates, Andy Grove, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Mark Zuckerberg to bring the world into the 21st Century. This involved a transition away from manufacturing and towards a serviced-based economy, with value being placed on knowledge and the ability to monetize information. We are still experiencing the shifts of this revolution, seen mostly in the form of business disruption, the dissolving of antiquated structures, the rise of the entrepreneur, and the importance of data.
Agrarian Society 9,743 years in the making. Industrial Society 210 years in the making. Information Society 47 years in the making. Now THAT’S acceleration!
Acceleration: the act or process of moving faster or happening more quickly.
Not only will the rate of creation and dissemination of technology and information be accelerating, but so will the amount of “sharing,” “repurposing,” and “mining” of the accompanying data.
This accelerated pace of change in technology, climate, and marketplaces facilitate the next major societal shift. This Acceleration Revolution, will create what I am currently calling the “Neural Network Society.” A neural network, whether anatomical or artificial, is a connective system based on a large collection of simple units, neurons. Interestingly, the neurons alone are inactive. It is the strength of their connective fiber and their inclusion in a powerful network that activates them and gives them their ultimate power of sending robust information to other neurons.
This shift will create the indispensable need for businesses to foster their “neural” business networks, create a place in the ecosystem to add value, overhaul their current business models to focus solely on the delivering their core competencies, and outsource virtually everything else to others in their network with greater expertise and economic advantage. Those businesses that move quickly to leverage outsourcing will experience even further competitive advantage by harnessing the power of the best-in-class providers on an on-demand basis. Replacing bloated fixed-cost infrastructures with variable-cost providers, as-needed, will allow business to most effectively and efficiently deploy their scarce resources to garner vastly improved return on investment. Additionally, this will require these neural networks to re-skill their collective workforce and actively promote an innovated ecosystem. It’s not going to be easy, but well worth it in the long run!
Or…. you can hold on to your job as a fax machine salesperson.