"Every person has marketable skills. You just have to find out what yours are and take the leap. Change your perspective, gather some courage, and you may just change your life."
-- Liesha Petrovitch, Entrepreneur, Educator, Owner, Micro Business
"Entrepreneurship is all about balancing and rearranging the plates on the table. It's important to do so, so that a new pattern emerges. One that impacts on the future. Human nature is all about gaming the system to forecast the future."
-- David Mosby, Entrepreneur, Executive Director, Keiretsu Forum Academy & Co-Author, The Paradox of Excellence
Those who know me are aware that I advocate studying patterns and embracing change -- two traits successful entrepreneurs, especially technologically oriented ones, have in spades. They also know that I'm a news junkie regarding technology; the ultimate arena for "gaming the system." As a "techie," there are two events I have followed for years: the Apple World Wide Developer's Conference in the summer, and the Consumer Electronics Show in the winter. I wrote an open letter to Tim Cook last summer, which is posted in my Slideshare vault. I wanted to write one for the CES, and share it here.
Dear CES "Powers That Be,"
The CES garners much attention and scrutiny in real time and cyber time -- and it should. From innovators to entrepreneurs, from educational thought leaders to bloggers writing about economic forecasts, all eyes are on you this week as you unveil the next Big Thing... or one more thing. The truth is that we all need technology. We need it to launch the "third industrial revolution," especially in this day and age of digital learning and self-education about digital citizenship.
But we need to balance our humanity with that technology even more. For a better psycho-social experience connecting to other human beings in our increasingly geographically tethered yet emotionally fragmented society. For a better work/life experience that all us "working stiffs," especially entrepreneurs (concerned about things like innovation and IPOs) strive for. So that we retain our respective customer loyalty in our capitalist society. So that we can better protect people's jobs and various means of employment.
The question is this: Is the CES still relevant, still exciting, still the benchmark... still meaningful? As Victoria Turk writes, "Just because something is novel doesn't mean it's really interesting, or clever, or useful at all." Despite the general consensus that 2013 was a ho-hum year for technological innovation, Jason Dorrier believes, as do I, that it was a banner year for exponential technology; some of it not even on our radar or that of the folks at CES 2013!
So I ask again, will your unveiled products, gizmos, gadgets, and "must-haves" provide for a better humanity/technology balance that enhances the collective consumer experience? So that we better address lost capital in the USA, and stave off boredom, stagnant thinking, and cynicism?
Don't get me wrong; I believe in the pursuit of the American Dream! I truly have the highest respect for American innovation, and what the CES stands for. What it means for the ubiquitous potential of homegrown technology for changing our educational mindset at large and the way we spur and sustain economic growth.
As Vivek Wadwa writes, "Computer-assisted design and fabrication will reshape manufacturing forever. ... We have exponentially increased our ability to access knowledge."
It's what we do with that knowledge, what we do with all the technological advances in the future that concerns me. It's the pitfalls of hawking half-finished products at your time-sensitive yet sometimes untimely "show and tell," like we used to do on the first day of school, inviting us to become a cog in the machine like the Borg from Star Trek, that concern me. As Peg Fitzpatrick cautions, "Think independently and be aware of your thinking."
So I'm thinking that it's time to hold technological innovation/innovators and those purveyors and promoters more accountable. So that it spurs more meaningful, educational, social, and yes, economical and profitable change. To make our lives better. To make the lives of others better. I therefore pledge allegiance to better balance my humanity and my technology in my pursuit of entrepreneurship. Who's with me?
Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH
An Educator/ Ed-Tech Consultant turned Social Entrepreneur
Director: The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship