Once upon a time, back in the prehistoric late 20th century, we all suffered from something called Future Shock – a condition that, according to best-selling writer Alvin Toeffler, made us unable to deal with the pace of technological change. Today, however, our future shock has been replaced by present shock. That, at least, is the view of the contemporary Toeffler, Douglas Rushkoff, who has just written the much lauded Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now.
Rushkoff’s intriguing thesis in Present Shock is that today’s always-on technology has created a dictatorship of the present in which everything happens now. So what are the real entrepreneurial opportunities, I asked Rushkoff, in an age in which everything happens in the present? Rather than at companies like Facebook or Google, he explains, real innovation will happen with entrepreneurs who understood that our industrial model has been replaced by what he calls a “steady state real-time economy.” The big opportunities, Rushkoff says, now lie in areas like authentication, banking and alternative currencies – and with timeless companies like Etsy and Duncan YoYo.