More Predictions Coming True

One of the predictions that I made in Data Crush is that more and more of our economy, and nearly ALL of our future economic growth, will take place in a barter economy. Here, people will trade things of value with one another, without ever exchanging money. The rationale for this is clear; money is a resource, and it is both limited and tightly controlled. Those who have it control access to it from those who don’t. That’s how you make more.

As a result, the 1-2 billion new entrants into the middle class that the world will experience over the coming decade will make this migration by finding alternate access to capital, customers and resources. This shift will undermine power structures throughout society, in ways which may be difficult to predict.

Moments ago, I experienced a tiny example of this effect, and I was struck by the coincidence. I was sitting in an airport restaurant, eating my lunch and waiting on my next flight. As is my usual habit, I strategically sat next to one of the few electrical outlets in the joint, so that I could recharge my cell phone.

Half-way through my lunch, I was approached by a man in uniform. He was somewhat disheveled, and acting a bit nervous, so my immediate inclination was to think that he was going to ask me for money, or something. He swallowed hard and began to introduce himself as the kitchen manager of the establishment, and had a favor to ask of me.

At this point I was perplexed… what could the kitchen manager want with me. He said to me, “I noticed that you have an iPhone 5, and that you’re charging it. My iPhone is nearly dead, and I desperately need a charge.” Clearly, this was not the conversation I was anticipating.

He continued, “Could I use your charger to load up my phone? I’ll comp your lunch if you agree.”

How could I say no to that offer?! So, I hooked him up, and he me, and so the new economy chugs on!

The moral of this story? Be ready to engage customers and opportunities anywhere, anyplace, any time, and recognize that economic value does not reside solely in capital and cash… it resides in opportunities gained and lost, which might pass by in an instant.

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