2007: Did We Miss It?

By Shlomo Maital



   New York Times columnist Tom Friedman thinks something interesting and important happened, in 2007 – while we weren’t looking. Why weren’t we looking? Because we were preoccupied with the global economic and financial crisis.   And we missed a “strategic inflection point” (a key turning point in history).

   This is the subject of his forthcoming book, in the works for the past 3 years.

     What did we miss in 2007?   The first iPhone that began the smartphone revolution; Facebook opened itself to anyone; Twitter took off in 2007; Hadoop helped enable Big Data and cloud computing. Kindle began the e-book revolution. Google introduced Android. IBM started Watson – the cognitive computer that is great at medical diagnoses. Genome sequencing? Once it cost $100 m. to decipher a genome; that cost fall drastically, starting in 2007.   Solar panel costs decline sharply in 2007; Airbnb was conceived in 2007; Intel introduced non-silicon materials in its microprocessors; and the Internet cross the 1 billion user mark.

   “Connectivity and computing got so fast, cheap, ubiquitous…that they changed three forms of power:  

* the power of one – what one individual or small group can do to make or break things is phenomenal. (See Trump’s tweets to 28 million followers).

* the power of machines – machines are starting to become truly creative, [making things] that are indistinguishable from the work of humans.

* the power of ideas – ideas now flow digitally through social networks all over the world, faster and farther.   New ideas suddenly take root and long-held ideas can suddenly melt away. “

     These three changes are like a hurricane in which we’re all being asked to dance. You can dance in a hurricane, Friedman notes – but only if you’re in the eye.   Trump and Brexiters want to build a wall against the change. Won’t work. “I think the challenge is to find the ‘eye’ “, Friedman argues.

     How will you adapt to these three key changes? And, can you find the ‘eye’ and the ‘I’?