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April Arrives, and (No Fooling) Amazing Ideas Are in the Air


April 1, 2016 - 4 Comments

It’s the first day of April, and spring is finally here. Everywhere, a sense of renewal and optimism is spreading. So, today I’d like to focus on a few cutting-edge technologies that are transforming our world.

Quantum computing? Artificial intelligence? Augmented reality? All pale in comparison to these innovations, which truly have the potential to change the way we live, work, and play.

  • The first is a radical new technology called paper. Apparently made from trees in a secret process, paper is flat, lighter than an iPad and used in conjunction with a dedicated writing instrument that is held in the hand (and fits in the pocket!). With paper, one can keep track of thoughts, ideas, dreams, and plans. It never crashes, is immune to cybercriminals, and — as demonstrated before my own amazed eyes at the executive briefing center of an innovative startup — can be folded in such a way to make it fly.
  •  Another idea with huge potential is the non-mobile phone or landline. In some ways smarter than a smartphone, the non-mobile phone never has a bad signal or suffers from dropouts or interference. I tried one recently, and didn’t once utter the words, “Could you repeat that please, I couldn’t hear you.” Also, it’s unlikely that your landline phone will ever go through the washing machine (or worse). Truly revolutionary.

  •  Analog Athletics is one of the most promising concepts. Unlike online gaming or eSports, it requires muscles beyond those in the thumb. This takes some getting used to, as does the actual ball, which is filled with air and bounces on a hard surface. However, the analog version of basketball, which I tried recently, is truly transformative. Your teammates must be in the same place as you play, but I feel this is a small sacrifice for a unique experience.


OK, so it’s April Fools’ Day and we’re having a bit of fun. However, it’s good to remember that some of these technologies, such as paper and the landline, were radical in their day — and drove their own disruptions. For centuries, the elites of the world tried to keep paper, reading, and writing from the masses. Another disruptive innovation, the printing press, changed all that. To get an idea of the anxiety and future shock caused by the landline phone, the toaster, or the motorcar, just catch a replay of Downton Abbey.

Downton Abbey

(Photo Credit) 

Today, we are going through another time of great change. The digital age—with its accelerating pace of disruption—can be daunting indeed. But connecting in new ways and adapting to change is what we humans have always been great at.
Today, disruptive technologies are changing our personal and work lives. Sure, digital business transformation is challenging, but the opportunities for those who do it right are enormous. Would you really want to live in a time when things are just staying the same?

In the meantime, it’s spring. Put down that tablet, and get out and play some (analog) sports.



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4 Comments

  1. "Another idea with huge potential is the non-mobile phone or landline..." I will never give up my copper! They can drop a satellite in a heartbeat but it will take a very long time to dig up the copper/fiber lines.

    • Elizabeth - yes you just can't beat the copper for quality and reliability can you!

  2. Amazing minds at Cisco!

  3. Very clever!