The December 31, 2012, issue of Newsweek magazine was the last print edition. After eight decades the publishing giant made the determination it would no longer be maximally effective in its mission if it remained a hardcopy. Therefore, after years of analysis and planning, Newsweek decided it was time to end an era and move to a purely online format. Ive been devoting this weeks blog posts to that final print issue.
Time is the test of all truth. Hindsight is always 20/20. The truth ultimately arises. In some cases, earlier perspectives are proven correct while in other cases they are proven incorrect. In its final print edition, Newsweek reached into its archives to share some interesting and sometimes humorous perspectives. Here are a few that stood out to me (Perspectives 12/31/12, p. 9):
1From The Internet? Bah! February 26, 1995: Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that well soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.
2From Push-Button Age July 9, 1990: Not since the car radio has a technology so altered the nature of the driving experience as the cellular telephone . . . (For the record, a U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman says there are no statistics on accidents caused by drivers using mobile phones, and no reason to believe they are a safety problem.)
3From Where the Brains Are January 29, 1968: In the U.S., the technetronic age has begun to take shape. Some 39,500 computersabout 65 percent of the worlds totalhave already begun to reach into every facet of life.
4From George, Paul, Ringo, and John February 24, 1964: Visually they are a nightmare . . . Musically they are a near-disaster . . . Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of yeah, yeah, yeah!) are a catastrophe.
Well, once again we should all be humbled by the challenge of predicting the future. In some cases we get it right, in some cases we get it wrong, and woe to the seer who becomes overly emphatic before time has run its course!
Of course, I am in no way advocating we should not attempt to predict the future. Exploring the range of outcomes that might develop based on current trends, demographics, and events is crucial to business planning and strategy. Nevertheless, as we engage in that gargantuan task, let us remember it will ever be a fallible endeavor from which we should always learn . . . and laugh.
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