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Lydia Barbara

Lydia Barbara Lydia Barbara

2030 is practically tomorrow in terms of a human lifetime, but with the exponentially increasing rate of technological advances, it may feel like 100 years to anyone dropped into the future from the present.

Here in the future, looking back, I can see that the businesses developing products with privacy and respect at their hearts will have a better chance of survival, although nothing is guaranteed. Adopting agile or lean approaches for direct user feedback and faster product iteration also gives businesses a leg up. Those who listen, learn, and the speed of learning is becoming the new battlefield.

If I could give a 2020 CEO some advice to prepare for 2030, it would be: the systems you’re using now are eroding in value every day they get closer to legacy status. Build processes for constant rebuilding of software and systems (people systems and technological ones) before they degrade and cause trouble, starting now. Keep abreast of regulation, as it’s going to get tougher to make money in the usual old ways. Give your employees the flexibility to work from home and around their personal lives, because pretty soon everyone will be and that’s a curve you want to be ahead of. 

Perhaps we should also look at what we don’t have in 2030. We aren’t all putting our dogs into autonomous cars for them to be clipped by a robot groomer. We don’t have complete control of the uses of our own data, as much as many of us would like to. We are not living like the Jetsons, although we are in physical offices less often and our lives are better for it. The singularity has not happened, but many people are claiming it's just around the corner - much like your time. 

Here in 2030, we don’t see many baristas, or ticket takers, or customer support, or travel agents. Jobs that can be easily automated have been, although that has opened opportunities for working collaboratively with robots.

Schools haven’t changed direction sufficiently to train for jobs of this present so you, Mrs CEO, need to make sure any friends and family who may be facing obsolete employment opportunities get fluent in the technologies of 2020, because although what we’re using in 2030 is different, every advantage matters.

One odd prediction I had back in your time has proven true: only old folks still have telephone numbers. Everything’s online these days, except the Sunday phone call with your grandmother. It’s been at least two years since I’ve seen a newspaper made from dead trees, although physical books have thrived (libraries moved from freemium to subscription models, though).

The future’s bright, which is fabulous as we’ve all tiled our roofs with Tesla’s solar roof tiles. Some things have definitely gotten better. But do put in the work in 2020 to mitigate for climate change - you won't ever regret doing "too much" in this area.