Spending Some Time in the Future at #mnbb2010

Abraham Lincoln said “The best way to predict the future is to create it” (as did Peter Drucker and other creative thinkers).  I was able to spend some time this week with other Minnesotans trying to do just that—creating the future—at the Blandin Foundation’s Annual Broadband Conference.

After a day of workshops, the opening dinner featured Robert Stephens (@RStephens), a founder of the Geek Squad and CTO at Minnesota-based Best Buy.  Blandin’s blogger extraordinaire Ann Treacy switched modes and v-log’s the presentation with a little Flip video and posted the results to Youtube almost instantly (as you can hear above, the acoustics at the Lodge in Baxter were not so good).

I still don’t know where to start beyond “wow”.  The Uber-Geek has spoken.

Not that Mr. Stephens (Robert, I guess, I can’t call anybody younger than me “Mr”) said anything I haven’t heard before.  He just brought it all together, mixed it up with some cool tools (still drooling over that iPad / iPhone presentation duo) and had it seasoned with a bunch of other glimpses of the future from throughout the proceedings.

He talked about planning for the 4 screens of computing, and planning for them all to go away.  He talked about Twitter hashtags (like #mnbb2010) and disposable social networks.  He talked about privacy and competition and creativity.

“If you can’t trust your employees on the job, you have bigger problems than Facebook.”

Ask yourself, how much does it cost your organizations and companies and communities, NOT to be connected? Hm??

He talked about becoming Human Search Engines and cool stuff on Etsy.com for patient yet picky people; new ideas on ted.com and facilitating the Curiosity Revolution.  He talked about the Next Big Thing.  And answered a bunch of questions, including my question on Open Source:

“The days of the desktop are fading.  The future is mobile computing, cheap computing, thin computing, cloud computing.”

If you have the time, activate the Blandin playlist, turn up your headphones and listen to Robert Stephens for yourself.  Putting innovation in context is good stuff.  The Uber-geek is a cook and I’d say it’s a good taste of the future. Bon Appetit.


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