The old superstition is that 13 is an unlucky number. I’ve never understood it but that’s what people tell me on airplanes. That said, the year 2013 must be really terrifying for people who fear the number. So I had a thought: let’s embrace a sort of mystical quality of 2013. Josh Topolsky’s New Years address has remained with me for the past few weeks. I keep coming back to this one section:
I said that if last year (or the previous years) had been the time to discover new technology and let it become a part of our lives, then this year (and the next, and the next) will be the time to find out what actually living with this stuff is like. If last year we decided on the topic of the conversation, this is the year to start having the conversation.
The statement changed the nature of what we should expect in 2013. The bar was established in 2012, now we get to raise it or even destroy it! In 2012 we saw an incredible convergence of technologies together to create a beautiful glimpse of the future. Google Glass, cloud services, incredibly powerful and fast wireless networking, widespread smartphones and tablets, and the all-powerful app ecosystem. 2012 was a year where everyone got access to the most powerful and flexible tools in the history of mankind. Think of the things we can do!
The prolific writer on the cultural effects of the Internet, Clay Shirky, once said that “The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place.” This too has been sticking with me for a long time, and it accurately describes the way technology evolves. Something becomes outdated and old before a new institution completely replaces it. Newspapers have been ravaged by the internet, but the next stable model has not arisen. Televisions is broken, but we don’t have the replacement. The phones were broken until the iPhone, and now we must tackle the data structure of networks. The writing is on the wall for so many areas of our 21st century lives.
So let’s break the old stuff. I am calling 2013 the Year of Radical Ideas. Throughout the year I will propose new ideas on ways to change the status quo, using what we have developed in the years previous. The best part is that some ideas won’t really be that crazy, but their implications will be vast and varied. I’ll also be calling on some associates to guest write some ideas that they have around. If you’d be interested in writing, mention it in the comments.
Here’s to the future, because it’s already here.