What Grandma Thinks About Our World

It’s 2026.  I wake up at 5 a.m. to the gentle pulse of my Apple Watch, unfold my iPaper (the bendable, ultra-thin iPad generation 14) and begin reading the news, my email and Facebook.  

I get out of bed and prepare to be led by my virtual trainer as I put on my VR glasses and enter the world of virtual fitness.  After my 45-minute cross-training workout, I head to the kitchen and print a bagel from my 3-D printer, and pour myself some tea (brewed in my old-fashioned tea kettle).  

I ask Alexa (Amazon’s personal assistant available through Echo) for an update on the traffic and weather, and rouse my kids out of bed to get ready for school -- because they skipped the wake-up from their personal virtual assistants already (some things simply never change).  Now it’s off to work!

This is possibly your typical morning in 10 years.  It’s not so far in the future; most of these technologies already exist and are in full use. 



The rest of the day consists of meetings and calls using video software on my computer, and travel via shared services with electric vehicles like Uber and Lyft.  Coordinated lunch meetings leverage a combination of OpenTable and some proximity software, influenced by my personal nutrition app. 

Heading home on the BART, I may watch a show on my phone, only to get there in time for the family to coordinate dinner in the midst of baseball practice and soccer practice (two boys: this is what we deal with).

My grandmother would never even recognize this world.  She never in a million years would have imagined getting into some stranger's car and having them take me wherever I wanted to go.  

My point in laying this out is to echo some clichés: that the only constant in life is change, and the rate of change we’re experiencing right now is unmatched in history. 

Our kids are learning how to leverage new technology at faster paces than I was able to achieve when I was younger, and I was pretty fast.  My kids routinely walk into our bedroom and ask Alexa to tell them a joke. 

Once again, my grandmother would want to know why there was some other woman in my bedroom answering my kids’ questions.  When my grandmother was alive, FaceTime amazed her.  The rest of these advances are even further beyond comprehension for those not raised among them.

Digital has disrupted media.  It has disrupted travel.  It has even disrupted the CPG business, making it easier for brands to have direct contact with their consumers and to deliver a product directly through advancements in 3-D printing.  In the not-so-distant future, you’ll be able to print a bowl of cornflakes.  Whether this is healthy or not has yet to be determined, but it’s coming.

What I find interesting during this period of change is, how do we stay grounded?  How do we stay objective in the face of so many new ideas?  How do we decide which innovations are good and which should be reconsidered?  What will be the tea kettle of the future -- that simple, semi-indispensable piece of the past that still remains the simplest solution for a problem?  Many of these changes are for the better because they save time, but which ones are simply not necessary?

I love to think about this topic in the same terms as building a better mousetrap.  You can always build a better mousetrap, but if the previous version works well, has almost 100% penetration and nobody is concerned with improving it because they consider that problem solved, then your better mousetrap may be unnecessary.  

In the world of entrepreneurship, this stands true. You have to know the environment of your development and determine the consumer desire and need for your idea. You have priorities and limited time, so which developments do you focus on?  Those are the developments that can succeed.

Just some perspective for your Wednesday from one technology-lover as he considers what his grandmother would think of this world.

3 comments about "What Grandma Thinks About Our World".
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  1. George Simpson from George H. Simpson Communications, February 24, 2016 at 11:49 a.m.

    And think of what a better IoT world it will be if folks don't try to put ads on everything digital thing you touch.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 24, 2016 at 1:38 p.m.

    Do you want your tech (the people who control the tech, that is) to control you ? Once you allow yourself and your family to be tracked constantly, you lost control.

  3. Christopher Sanders from The Ingredients Group, March 4, 2016 at 8:44 p.m.

    I love that you think Facebook will still be an integral part of routine in 10 yrs - thank you! :) But, it makes me wonder what your grand children will be writing about you when you are exposed to their future imaginings!

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