This month, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our Technotrends Newsletter, which provides technology news and insights that have shaped this technology-enabled world we now live in. As I look at our subscriber list, which is made up of major news agencies, universities, research labs, executives from almost every industry, entrepreneurs, and interested individuals from all over the world, I’m amazed at how many have been with us from the very beginning – thank you!

Having just re-read our first issue where we reported the rise of e-mail, electronic news, downloadable software, laser eye surgery, medical and industrial robots, optical storage disks, wireless communications, and genetic engineering, to name a few, it’s hard now to imagine that there was a time when we didn’t have all of those things. As predicted, technology has changed how we live, work and play.

We are now at the dawn of a profound technology-driven transformation that will make the changes we have experienced over the past 25 years seem small and slow.

Notice I used the word transformation and not change. When I was in high school, I listened to my music on LP albums, one album per spinning disk. Years later a welcome change happened, I could listen to my albums on a CD, basically a smaller spinning disk without the hiss and scratches. I liked this change and repurchased all of my favorite albums.

Thanks to the iPod revolution, I now have all my albums in one small device that is with me all the time. iPods and all other MP3 players haven’t changed how we listen to music, they’ve transformed it. And once transformed, you aren’t going back.
We are about to transform how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, innovate, watch TV, learn and, as you might guess, much more.

As we’ve all read about and experienced the financial crisis, the housing crisis, and the unemployment crisis, it’s important to understand that under the fog of crisis, sits a mountain of unprecedented opportunity for all who take the time to discover and act on it.

Technology is driving transformative change, our new president is driving change, the new global reality is demanding change, and as the ancient Chinese philosophers wrote, change is opportunity. Look at the hard trend drivers I have discussed in past articles, demographics, government regulations, and technology innovation. Look for opportunities and embrace change.

GM, Chrysler, and Ford saw change as a threat and spent valuable time and money protecting and defending the status quo. The unions spent time and money protecting and defending the status quo. Protecting and defending the status quo is human nature, but in a world of transformational change you need to get over it fast.

The auto industry is going through a needed rebirth based on the new realities of the 21st century. Those that see the direction of change and change with it will prosper. We have a new president whose platform is change. Billions of dollars will be put into play, and new laws will be passed that will provide a window to profitability and growth. Pay attention! If money is going into infrastructure, opportunity will follow. If money is going into alternative energy and green, opportunity will follow. If money is going into research and science, opportunity will follow. Follow the money and you will see the opportunity.

My grandfather lived on a farm in north Texas and one day while helping him on the farm he shared some wisdom with me. He said, “It’s easier to ride a horse in the direction it’s going”. The horses we have been riding have been on a familiar path making it easy. They are about to change direction and if you try to ride them in the same old direction, it will be a battle all the way.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you personally, and for your organization. Don’t miss it!