While I tend to appreciate Mark Cuban’s writing, his latest post really got me thinking. The internet, he argues (or argued, since it’s really just a highlight of two old posts) isn’t where “the future” is anymore. It’s here. Applications are being built on the internet en masse. And that means it’s a stable platform.
So I spent a lot of yesterday thinking: “What’s the next big game-changer?” What’s the next thing that will shake our society to the bone, like electricity, telephones, cable TV, and even the internet have done?
(It was a good day to think, by the way. Beautiful, crisp, and sunny, I spent the late afternoon on a bench with a newly-purchased copy of “The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci”… what a steal at $5!)
The answer I came up with made me both incredibly uncomfortable and incredibly excited (which, luckily, was what I was hoping to feel):
The next game-changer will open up people like the internet opened up data.
Think Web 2.0… but without the permission. Think about being able to reach anyone without anything standing in your way. But then think of the flipside: anyone can do the same to you.
A system — or a protocol — like this scares the daylights out of me because it’s too easy to game. Which is why — like the internet — it will need to start out slow. With people who are excited about the possibilities. With people who want to prove the skeptics wrong. And, ultimately, with people who see the promise to enhance their own lives by being involved.
By opening ourselves to others, by creating a searchable, indexable, and intuitive platform of universally-accessible people, we have the opportunity to enhance our own lives by enhancing everybody else’s. We also have the ability to directly connect and share wisdom with anyone sharing our journey from birth to unfortunate death.
The funny thing is (and this may, unfortunately, sound a bit “May 1968“) that most business executives, celebrities, and others who most of the masses would want to get in touch with right now won’t get involved until it’s too late. But, to be honest, they shouldn’t. We need them to keep society stable until this happens. Or, alternatively, as a fallback plan in case this fails.
No, this platform, system, protocal — whatever you want to call it — will be built, tested, and developed by those of us who aspire to be like them. It will be built by the people who want to reach that level and, by the time they (or we) do, it will hopefully have whatever spam filters are necessary to keep it from negatively impacting their (or our) lives.
Yes, I know Facebook kind of does this. Yes, I know Twitter kind of does this, too. But what they’re really missing is the ability to be accessed. There’s no way to reach someone directly, and they lack proper accountability. I mean, sure, things can be public, but that doesn’t mean that anything you do right will impact you positively (or vice-versa).
The next big game-changer, at least in my mind, will be a ubiquitous platform that makes everyone in the world easily find-able and accessible, like the internet did for documents. Anyone want to start working on a model protocol?