Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can speak about today’s powerful business trends (and how to plan and profit from them) at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.


Full Video Transcript:

Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about business trends and how we should prepare for tomorrow, not today. One of the amazing trends that’s happening right now is technology is evolving on an exponential curve. Some of you may have heard of Moore’s Law. But the bottom line—if you don’t know what that is, it doesn’t matter—bottom line is that data processing bandwidth and storage are evolving on an exponential curve. In other words, the capabilities are going up faster and faster all the time, which means that the price of processing bandwidth and storage is coming down in price on the inverse of that same exponential curve. So basically the same amount of processing costs half as much every two years, or you can pay the same amount of price and get twice the processing power that you did two years earlier. And then in another two years another twice, so now it’s four times what it was originally. So it goes one to two, two to four. In another two years, four to eight.

So this is an exponential curve which is going to affect our future. Most of the time people just see the present. People just see what’s happening today. They don’t see the implications long-term. The processing of computers is getting so powerful that now computers are starting to be smarter than people in a lot of different ways, and there are a lot of different theories on when a computer will literally be more powerful than the human brain. We haven’t gotten there yet because the human brain is such a diverse…there’s such a broad capacity of capabilities that the brain can do.

But the point is that we’re going to get to a point where processing is really like significantly changing life. We know it’s happening, so how do you prepare for that tomorrow? What would you do as a businessperson or as maybe you’re already a CEO or you own your own company or whatever, what would you do if data processing bandwidth and storage were free? What would you do as a company if processing bandwidth and storage were free? Plan for that.

April 1st, 2004, Hotmail, the email provider by Microsoft, offered 2 megabytes of free storage for every user. April 1st, 2004 – that was April Fool’s Day. That was the same day that Gmail first launched its beta version, offering 1 gigabyte of free storage at the same time – 500 times as much as free storage. At the time they made that offering, it was not profitable to provide that service, but Google knew that in two years the cost would be half of what it is today, and in another two years it would be half of the half, which is a quarter of what it is today. In other words, they understood that technology, that data processing bandwidth and storage were evolving on an exponential curve, which meant the cost of providing it would be going down. Plan for tomorrow, not today.

I grew up in Canada and one of our most famous hockey players, Wayne Gretzky, used to always say that he didn’t skate to where the puck is—you’ve heard this before—he skates to where the puck is going. We need to do that today as businesspeople, skate to where the puck is going. We know that data processing bandwidth and storage are coming down in price fast, so plan for tomorrow. What would you do if data processing bandwidth and storage were free? Plan for that.

And it’s not the only trend. There are tons of trends. Guys, we know the future. People say you can’t predict the future. That is not true. We can. We know the population is growing like crazy. We know the population is aging, especially in developed countries. Not so much in developing countries, but in the developed world the population is aging, so we’re going to have old people. What do old people want to buy? Pollution is increasing. What trends, what can you service when you see the pollution is increasing? Water is increasingly scarce. There are going to be shortages of water.

There are going to be shortages of food. Even in 2011 when commodity prices went up high, we had food riots in over 30 countries around the world. So we know this is coming. As commodity prices go up and the population goes up, which is going to drive those commodities higher, we’re going to have food riots in developing countries where food is still a little bit scarce. How can you position your business for that trend we know is coming?

The middle class around the world is exploding. People are moving from poverty into the middle class. How can we service a growing middle class in the developing world? Internet access is exploding around the world with mobile devices. A lot of people, they’re leapfrogging traditional technologies. So people in Africa or South Asia or Southeast Asia, even South America, they’re not necessarily buying computers first. Many of them are going straight to the mobile phone and then accessing the Internet for the first time on their mobile device. How can you plan for that? Is your website mobile-friendly? Is it available in other languages? Plan for the future. We know those people are coming online.

All these are trends that we know are coming. We can tell the future today. So don’t skate to where the puck is. See beyond that. See what the trend is leading towards and skate to where the puck is going. The perfect example is data processing bandwidth and storage is coming down in price. What would you do if it were free? Plan for the future not today and you could see an enormous opportunity to transform your business, even your industry, with that information.

Thanks for watching this video. My name is Patrick, reminding you once again to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences and in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.