Now's a good time to think about your skills and how well you're positioned for the Brave New World barreling down on us.
Here's a good place to start.
Scoble's list was pretty straight forward:
1. Dialing a rotary phone.
2. Putting a needle on a vinyl record.
3. Changing tracks on an eight-track tape.
5. Using a slide rule.
6. Using carbon paper to make copies.
7. Developing film/photos.
8. Changing the ball or ribbon on your Selectric Typewriter.
9. Getting off the couch to change channels on your TV set.
10. Adjusting the rabbit ears on your TV set.
11. Changing the gas mixture on your car’s carburetor.
But the longer list--and you can argue about some of these all night--is much more wide ranging. Some of these were blown out by new technology ("adjusting rabbit ears on a TV", "dialing a rotary phone") others a reflection of changing lifestyles and mass marketing. Who has their milk delivered to their homes anymore? Is "knowing your neighbors" now dead? Are "good manners" history?
Some just faded away quietly. Remember carbon paper or when you had to actually focus a camera or format a floppy? What about percolating coffee?
Some are arguable. Is "common sense" really dead (maybe). Have we truly lost the ability to think--and "drive" (driving a car is listed as a lost skill). What about "read a map?"
Will "writing" be dead? Already "texting" "IM-ing" and "twittering" has replaced true prose in most of the blogosphere--so what's next?
This is interesting because when we work with employees at many companies starting to blog (anyone over, say, 30), they still groan and think about blogging as equivalent to "writing an article." Meanwhile the blogosphere is zooming ahead with a new kind of top of mind thinking, shoot and run writing style. Breezy. Punchy. Brief. Get the thought out there and move on.
If you think about jobs skills and career paths, and the power of technology and the Internet, the possibilities are interesting--and perhaps scary. With the Internet, just to take the job field, almost any middleman type business is potentially vulnerable. Look at what the Internet has already done to car dealers, full commission brokers and travel agents, just to name a few. On the communications side, you can bet public relations, marketing and advertising is going to go through massive changes the next few years. Better adjust or join the typewriter and carbon paper crowd.
What about journalists and real estate agents--how long will they be around?
Actually, journalists are a good case example. The Internet and explosion in blogs won't wipe them out completely, but it will force them to change how they use their skills. While many of the big pubs and tv networks fade in power, thousands of new venues arise. Who would have ever thought a TechCrunch would potentially compete with a BusinessWeek? Or a Drudge Report could conceivable compete with a Time or People Magazine? So the writing skills and discipline of a journalist is needed more than ever and they will adjust, but forget the glory of working for a glamorous publication.
And so it goes. Skills come and go, we all get older. Our kids and grand kids will come along with questions that will give us a chance to ponder our obsolete skills. "Gee Dad, you were a journalist? How did that work before the Internet?"
By then, perhaps I'll be off playing golf on a course overlooking an ocean--if golf isn't obsolete.