After spending some time away from the computer over the past two weeks, I finally got some time to think back on the past 10 years and here’s what I’ve got.
The past 10 years have really just been about instant gratification. It has been the “I want it, and I want it now” mindset, thanks to a whole variety of toys (ie. Google, MySpace, AIM, Xbox, YouPorn, PartyPoker, iPhone, Investment Banks, TIVO, among many other things).
Looking back on the decade, here are a few things that really stood out in my mind as “game changers.”
- Google – Obviously. I remember having to call 411 for information.
- Call of Duty, Xbox Live, US Airforce, and Blizzard Entertainment – We used hover around Nintendo 64 in order to play Mario Cart and shoot each other with turtle shells. Then there was the emergence of Blizzard’s first online multi player forum which really set the stage for online gaming. Now if I wanted to, I can sit back on the couch, load up Call of Duty on XBox Live and snipe Chad Ochocinco with an AK-47. And if the US air force wanted to, they too can sit back on the couch, fly some unmanned drones in the middle east and take out some Al Qaeda operatives.
- Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Finance Degrees, and the collapse of the banks – I remember one of my engineering professors telling me a story about how his colleague spent years trying to invent new technologies in order to become rich. Well, after many years of failure, he decided the easiest way to get that paper was to hop on the Wall Street train, which he did. And now, according to my professor, he is very, very well off. Some of the brightest minds headed to Wall Street, and it is a movement that has already started to alter this country in a very bad way.
- AIM, Skype, BBM, Twitter and iChat – Instant messaging and text messaging really took off this past decade. BBM officially lets us know when our friends blatantly ignore us while twitter makes you think your friends actually care and are reading what you have to say in the first place. Either way, this change has been all about real time communications.
- ADD, Ritalin, and solitary confinement study sessions – “What, you have a test tomorrow and only 2 hours to study?” Cognitive enhancements have really changed things. Go to most major universities these days to see what I’m talking about. For some reason, it seems everyone has ADD. In order to deal with an extremely fast paced environment, as well as growing societal pressures, youth are beginning to turn to little white pills that make our minds focus better.
- Party Poker, Sports Book, and online gambling – We don’t all need traditional jobs. In fact, many people make more money after work (or not working) gambling online than they do at their day job sitting on their couch. Years ago, if you wanted to gamble you’d have to consider bookies breaking your knees or would have to worry about large holes out in the middle of the Las Vegas desert (well, maybe some people still have to worry about these things).
- Kaazza, Napster, iTunes, and MySpace – It used to be so easy getting music and it has only become easier. You could download it almost anywhere, at anytime, for free (and illegally). This dynamic changed music forever. In addition, artists no longer need record labels. When was the last time you actually cared about a record label? Today, music can be obtained whenever and however you want.
Bottom line is, the past decade has paved the way for mass, real time communication highways. In the coming decade, we will all be slaves to media and information. We will want, want, want because we can, and things will be so easy to obtain and access through these faster, more distributive digital highways. The next decade will be called the “Do whatever, however, and whenever the F you want decade.”
(although the video is a little dated, I think they were on to something)