The Future is Now

The Future Now (LIVE)

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Starting the conversation…

Can we really be ready for drastic industry changes in the future?

How much thought do we put toward future disruption?

Host: Jess Dewell
Guest: Thomas Frey

What You Will Hear:

What a futurist is and why the future matters to our business.

The new skills we must learn to contribute to business growth in a distracted society.

It takes time to create instant gratification…and that will continue.

The right answer is not always the right answer for you.

Regardless of company size, how important is looking at what current technology and industry trends are?

“The future favors the bold.”

Learn the skill of distraction management.

Live Audience Question: What’s the biggest mistake a high school graduate can make today?

Question from Scott: For young people, how important is financial literacy? Especially when it comes to compound interest?

Small shifts today bring great shifts tomorrow – look at advice-givers (who we listen to).

Businesses can effectively use the gig economy.

No one is teaching people how to be a freelancer.

Three things Thomas Frey has learned as a Futurist that he continues to use in his career.

Live Audience Question: What is your opinion about counterintuitive approach to the future? Should we focus on something opposite if we want to thrive in the new world of tech?

Audience Question: How does one become a futurist, is there a set of skills or set of interests, and how to know if someone is not a fake.

It is BOLD to recognize and think about the future right now.

Notable and Quotable:


Thomas Frey 4:18
I always think of my role as a futurist as helping expand people’s understanding of what the future holds. I do get into shifting demographics quite a bit. But when it comes to things of government and politics and religion, I tend to stay out of that. Mostly technology-driven change. And that is a rich topic area because technology is shifting so many things in our lives right now.

Thomas Frey 5:14
Most every person I run into has this nagging anxiety, am I still going to have a job five years from now? And if not, what new skills do I need to learn? We all need to learn new skills. We need to be open and receptive and trying new things.

Thomas Frey 5:31
Some of the most valuable skills in the future are going to be somebody who is resourceful or resilient. Somebody who is flexible and determined. All of these things are skills and talents that are hard to teach. And so it’s things happening outside of our existing education system.

Jess Dewell 6:11
Even in colleges, I’m not sure that they actually teach things like resourcefulness and discernment.

Thomas Frey 6:27
Especially in our super distracted society, we’re so distracted. And so teaching somebody just how to focus, how to zoom in on one topic and pay attention, to drill down, and to think deeply about it. Most of us get down to like surface level, but very few of us actually drill down and really get into the deep understanding of how things work. That’s what becomes challenging.

Thomas Frey 8:16
Our ability to create is to exceed our ability to absorb all the new technology. I think we can only transition so quickly. Human nature as some barriers that we throw up. If something is a little too soon, if we haven’t gone through the life cycle of some older technology just yet, and the life cycles seem to be getting a little bit shorter, but there are barriers that we just can’t transition. We have to muddle our way through it and figure out what’s reasonable and what isn’t.

Jess Dewell 11:00
We’ve got three values in our family which are awareness, responsibility, and honesty. Everything that we do, we use that as a filter.

Jess Dewell 12:49
When McDonald’s first started selling salads, they had a large increase in revenue. And when they went back and they looked at what was being sold, the increase did not come from salads. The increase came from more hamburgers and french fries

Thomas Frey 14:40
Some people are the early adopters and some people need to be early adopters. It depends on the personality. It depends on the business you’re in. And so there’s no right or wrong answer.

Thomas Frey 15:17
The needs to be constantly learning about what new things are coming down the pike. And that’s challenging too because people don’t know what they should be paying attention to and what they can dismiss.

Thomas Frey 15:51
We have to do a lot of experimenting. We have to try things. We have to break things. You need to know what works and what doesn’t. And that’s okay. That’s the sign of a trailblazer. It means somebody who’s willing to take those risks.

Thomas Frey 16:11
I’m constantly saying that the future favors the bold.

Thomas Frey 16:16
The future is all being built around people who are taking these bold moves, taking these bold choices. Those are our heroes. Most of the people that we look up to because they turn left when everybody else is turning right

Thomas Frey 18:09
That’s ongoing challenge that everybody’s going to have in the future is just the choices we make are going to define us, but don’t know which ones are right and which ones are wrong.

Thomas Frey 26:35
The types of credentialing, the types of things that we can put on a resume, that we can hang our hats on. All of those things are changing.

Thomas Frey 26:43
There’s a lot of things that are equal to college degree, some of them are better. So if I invent something, I get a patent. Maybe that’s worth equivalent of a college degree or if it’s a wildly successful invention, it could be far better. If I write a book, that might be the equivalent of a college swegree. If it’s a best seller book, that might be way better. If I start a business, if I produce a game, if I produce a movie, there’s all these things that we can do that or alternative paths to success. They give a status in society, but they’re not the theoretical process laid out like a college degree, so that it’s a mess here path all around.


Thomas Frey 32:52
If you think about the way Hollywood has been working for years, whenever the movie project that came into play, it would attract writers and directors, camera guys, planning guys, actors and actresses, makeup artists. All of these people would come together around this project. And then as soon as it’s over, they all dispersed in a very organically former on other projects. And so that process that can translate into the business world.

Thomas Frey 33:17
Right now, the internet’s a very sophisticated communication tool that enables us to align the needs of a business with the talent of individuals in far more precise ways than ever before. So rather than hiring somebody full time, and we bring them on for two months, or two weeks, or two days or even two hours, because that’s all the help that we need. And we may pay a premium for that person that’s working for two hours, but then we don’t have all of the overhead costs associated with hiring a full-time employee. We still have to maintain the institutional knowledge in our organization. We still have to, but what percentage of the people can be floating in and out, and just tackle the project says turn up? That still remains to be an undefined area of the business world. And the tools we have for aligning this talent with the needs of the business are getting more specific and more precise as we go. So we’re going to have more options to work with that in the future.

Thomas Frey 35:37
The gig economy, it’s forcing the need for somebody to step up and offer some sort of a Freelancer Academy. And I think a Freelancer Academy can actually be done and maybe as little as a week.

Thomas Frey 35:53
We’re teaching people how to do the business of you. To view themselves as a business a business unit. To actually figure out how to do networking, how to meet new people, how to find new contracts, how to write a contract, how to modify it, how to negotiate a deal, how to set up your books, how to a form or corporation, how to do the marketing and the sales and create your website and do the search engine optimization. These all come into play, and how do you do all that and become good at that as an individual.

Thomas Frey 36:29
Not everybody is cut out to be a freelancer. Not everybody can do that. But it’s important that we all think of ourselves as a business unit because that’s highly important.

Thomas Frey 37:54
You need to surround yourself with people who look like what you want to become. So right now in the United States, there’s 1.3 million freelancers making over $100,000 a year. You break into that proud of high-paid freelancers where you hang out with other high-paid freelancers. They’re not easy to find. You can’t just go down the street and go to the storefront and find a bunch of high-paid freelancers. They’re tucked away. They don’t want to be found. They’re doing their thing. They’ve figured out their little niche and they’re very good at it. The best ones are the ones that are constantly picking up new skills. That are expanding their area of expertise, that are learning new techniques on a constant basis. Those are the ones that are the most valuable to have in your network. And creating this type of network is really, really important.

Thomas Frey 48:27
Generally, we won’t tackle something that bold and outrageous unless we think that there’s a reasonable chance of getting there. And it has to be over 50% probability. We can create mental images of each of the steps along the way. And we can process a system in a way that we can say, “Oh, yeah, that is doable.” And, we don’t have to reinvent the world or we don’t have to have some miracle that happens in some technology. We can just take this stepping stone approach and we can eventually get there. Like a great chess master can see 25 moves ahead. That gives them the incentive to make these bold moves. And I find that fascinating. That’s a rare individual. I mean, that’s the most arts, the Beethovens, the Einstein. Those are the ones that view the world through an entirely different lens. They’re the one in a billion on our planet. If we empower these people, if we give them the right tools, the right flow of information, and suddenly, wow, they’re sitting in the seat of power, and they are in command of all of these things that can change the world. We’re right on the edge of that happening in so many different areas right now.

Thomas Frey 50:07
I wrote this column on 100,000 new micro industries being created over the next two decades. After thinking about that, I think that’s low. Because I think this emerging technology we have around us is giving us the tools of creation. It gives us the tools to create new and different things. Every new industry gets created, or two little micro-businesses that spring up. Some of them will die on the vine but other ones will explode into a whole new industry. And that I think, is fascinating.


11 Critical Skills for the Future that Aren’t Taught in School

100,000 New Micro Industries to be Created Over the Next Two Decades


business growth, resourcefulness, determined, distraction management, soft skills, decision making, gig economy, technology

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