A lot can happen in ten years.

Ten years ago I was running an agency in Manchester with a small staff, hoping to win some awards and make my fortune.

Ten years ago I had just read Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and was estimating that if I put in my 10,000 hours over the next ten years (19 hours+ each week focused on being better at my job), I may get to be in the top 5% of my industry.

Ten years ago I had no idea 2008 was about to happen and I would lose my business partner, all my savings, my house and my car. I would give up my dream of running my own business and move to a farm house in North Wales, only to discover that I would probably enjoy corporate life much more, because I could make a bigger difference on a much bigger scale.

Ten years ago Apple was preparing to unleash the first iPhone on the world and would begin trying to convince us all that phones without buttons were the future, and we might actually want to build our own “apps” for them.

Ten years ago we didn’t know much about Obama, hardly anyone outside of tech or journalism was using Twitter and it would be another two years before @RealDonaldTrump would discover how to use it. (Many would argue he still doesn’t know how to use it, and Twitter is still mostly tech people and journos).


Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter) once said a great line to me during an interview,

“It took ten years of hard work to look like an overnight success”.


Ten years ago many of the things we take for granted today didn’t even exist:

  • iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Uber, Airbnb, Android (not commercially released yet), Oculus, Spotify (in development), Nest, Stripe, Square, Instagram (being built), Slack,  Spotify (BETA testing), Snapchat, Tesla (building prototypes)…

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten”. Bill Gates

I was speaking at Dublin Web Summit a couple of years ago and I remember Bono having a debate with Peter Thiel on stage about the future of the internet. Bono compared the previous two decades to when cavemen first discovered fire.

“The world today probably feels similar to twenty years after man discovered fire. Back then we knew something amazing had happened. We were all trying to make sense of it. But nobody quite knew what to do with it yet”. Bono

Looking at AI, cognitive computing, VR and the IoT products which will connect every single part of our lives, I’m quite sure that the next ten years will see even more dramatic changes. We’ll probably look back with a strange sense of nostalgia t0 2016 when the technology industry felt like the wild west!

Think just three years ahead ~ By 2020, analyst house Gartner are predicting that there will be 1 MILLION new devices connected to the internet every HOUR!

Gartner do a great job of trying to predict where the world will be in ten years time, which is why they update their “Hype-Cycle” charts every year. It’s among the top research papers that I read and respect every year. And they are freakishly accurate in their predictions. The two hype-cycles I take the most notice of are for Digital Marketing & Advertising and Emerging Technologies.



Anyway – Happy Christmas everyone. Here’s a great book if you’re interested in where the future is heading and you find yourself needing some intellectual stimulation distraction over the party season…


Communications Designer @IBM • Climate Reality Leader • Lover of Old Business Books, Clever Technology and the NHS • Based in London, UK.

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