It annoys me how some people get all reflective at this time of year, but if you can't beat them, might as well join them 🙂 Happy New Year everyone, here are some words from me.
Success in 2011
The year 2011 will go down in history for me as a year of transformation. I managed to unlock some more of the secrets of my own inner-being, and attended the Gym more weeks than not; achieving personal bests in fitness and well-being that I have never been able to before.
I personally wish to thank all my friends, family, business partners, mentors and mastermind compatriots for their support during the year.
Greed, Growth, Global and everything Exponential
Overwhelmingly in 2011 I have seem a general pattern linking so many large issues, that all have a common theme. While many people seem to have misunderstood the whole "Occupy" movement that swept across major cities around the world in the second half of this year, it only seemed like a logical conclusion to me with the many topics that have been presenting themselves.
Let me explain first, about Exponential Growth
Earlier this year, I listened to Mark Zuckerberg (founder of that small, but successful site called Facebook) and he explained his Law of Social Sharing and in it he talks about what would happen if you could fold a piece of paper fifty times on itself – how high would it be? The answer, it turns out, is to the moon and back several times (a full chart here if you insist).
The concept of exponential growth is so fundamental to our existence, in that we all grew from cells that multiplied in this way, yet our cognitive ability to full appreciate and (perhaps more importantly) estimate it is unbelievably poor. If you have the time, watch this series of eight YouTube clips from Professor Albert Bartlett to understand more ->
So now you see…
Global Warming, regardless of whether you believe it is happening or not, is an example of a movement towards trimming back the excesses of mankind, and perhaps in some sense a natural attempt to stem exponential growh – and this to me is intrinsically linked to so many other things that have arisen since.
The sub-text of the ongoing Global Financial Crisis seems to be this continuing push-back against perceptions of greed and excess. And the key theme of the Occupy movement has been the theory of a 1% ruling class perceived as being greedy and living to excess.
Population Growth and the Economy
At some point during 2012, I would hope to see some serious discussion about the issue of global population growth, and more importantly strategies about how to deal with the inevitable economic slow-down that will occur; simply because so much of what we do in our lives relies on Economic Growth. If the very existence that you and I are currently used to relies on this concept – what happens when it stops? or reverses? Our planet is not getting any bigger, yet we continue to expand on it; this cannot continue. It is absolute.
And thus, this is the very reason why concepts such as sustainability have a bright future; provided people can adopt the necessary (and possibly painful) changes needed.
I haven't read this book by Dick Smith yet, but I plan to in 2012. I suspect it covers the same sentiment I am raising here; and no doubt more succinctly.
Efficient Energy Storage
The biggest most fundamental roadblock to the proper uptake of renewable energy sources continues to be the absence of efficient energy storage technology; such as ultra-capacitors (like those patented by EEStor) or some of the advancements to Lithium-Ion battery charging mentioned by MIT back in 2009.
Imagine a future where your home could be fitted with a smart-cell that could store a week's worth of electricity. It could be topped up by solar cells during the day and we could still have an electricity grid, but you would only need to draw from it every week or so; this would dramatically reduce our baseload requirements and in theory buy us some time with coming up with solutions for things like Coal generated power.
While it is unclear if these kinds of technology will finally emerge in 2012, despite the usual speculative rumours of buy-outs by oil companies and the usual tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theories, I absolutely believe that when these devices do appear this will represent an enormous shift in how we deal with energy issues in general.
Cyber Warfare and the Internet Police
It ain't getting any better on the Internet. As more and more of our commerce shifts to online technologies, the ability for criminals to take advantage of unsuspecting victims across international borders continues to thrive. And thrive it is, to the extent that organised criminal groups are becoming so specialised that some of them almost operate like legitimate businesses!
The year 2011 just continued to prove that fundamental technological weaknesses exist in almost every electronic platform we use, and that real security continues to be a mix of technology and educational awareness. Just like you lock your house when you leave, we all need to understand what the equivalent processes are with our computers and gadgets, to the point where they become second-nature.
In 2012, there will surely be a continuing trend of wide-spread data breaches (through groups like Anonymous), and also a shift in companies working on policies and procedures around how they will deal with breaches when they occur, rather than spending all their energy building a supposedly impenetrable fortress.
Cloud based application and platform providers will undoubtedly continue to prosper, and I would expect to see issues around encryption standards, data separation and authentication continue to be at the forefront of what they work on.
For law enforcement, there seems to be an overwhelming sense that they are struggling to keep up – and it isn't surprising since the very technology and the way the Internet is structured makes it very difficult to gather evidence and bring people to justice. That, and the disparate implementation of Internet connectivity around the world including how ISP's enforce their own policies, and how the law-makers respond to critical issues.
In 2012, I would like to see an improvement to the way cyber-intrusions are reported on an international scale and dealt with, because it seems like we have focussed too long on being defensive, and there needs to be a push towards an offense – raising the bar so that criminals are held to account and shutdown as quickly as possible. We all have a responsibility to help set that bar – by contacting our local law-makers and getting them to hold people to account for their actions online. Sort of what SOPA is trying to do, but not for useless anti-piracy laws – we should be going after the criminals who are committing real fraud, and stealing information and money.
The Human Side
The technology of the Internet brings us closer together, yet at the same time it has the side-effect of isolating and separating us even more, and so it is no surprise that things like Facebook which help counter-act this effect are continuing to thrive and other similar social initiatives will no doubt continue along the same path in 2012.
I see a resurgence of emotional intelligence in the world. With all that is happening in the world that is unsavoury, I see a push-back to common sense values and antics that make us laugh and remind us what it is to be human. It could be this guy, Alki Stevens from Melbourne that invented "Cone-ing" (the next best thing to Planking), or it could be this collection of "FAILS" from 2011 – it is not important if you ask the question "what is the point?" – it is important if you reacted emotionally – and to understand why. You are just as human as I am, and THAT is the point.
Amidst the criticism that is often thrown at Gen-Y (take this example which I saw just today) I think it is fair to say that they do have an appreciation of living and having a good time; and more stories of remarkable achievements from young people in 2012 will surely pervade.
Happy New Year!
Here's what I'll be up to in 2012 (apart from the fact that I'll be turning 40 in May!!):
- Reading at least one book each month, starting with finishing Steve Jobs' autobiography in the month of January
- I am going to do the 84 Day Body Challenge again, starting on January 9th – in preparation for my 40th birthday and the 'new, new me' 🙂
- My role as Security Advisor at AVG (AU/NZ) is going to keep me busy and I'm looking forward to the personal growth with that role, and working with the amazing team there.
- Continuing with a mastermind group that started for me this year, and it seems like we have achieved a lot already.
- and lot's more!
All the best, and thanks for your time, I hope you got something out of this; if you did, let me know.