The Jurassic Past and Fickle Future

My comm law & policy prof is fascinated with futurology — the predictive daydreaming of technological progress based on what came before and where the margins are fuzziest.  It’s a weird science, to be sure, and I struggle to take him seriously when he claims that we’ll be living in total virtual realities by 2020.

But a nostalgic column in yesterday’s Slate and a funny clip from Conan (embedded below) have recently reminded me just how easy it is to take progress for granted.

It’s had me wondering: why do some meta brands, like computer electronics, seem to advance so directly on exponential S-curves while others, like ‘green,’ suffer the roller coaster of cultural fits and starts?  Thirteen years ago, when we were mired in the dark ages of hypertext, we already long knew that global warming was a problem, that alternative energy was a solution, and that innovation promised a boon to business everywhere.  The first modern biodiesel production system, for that matter, was patented in 1937 — the same year the Golden Gate Bridge opened.  I guarantee you there’s been far more change over the spans of the latter than the former has seen in the span of seventy years.  Why doesn’t Moore’s law apply to meta-brand green?

I, clearly, don’t have a good answer.  But there’s something to notion of momentum and inertia within the complex dynamic of meta-brands that’s worth a deeper think.  In the meantime, have a nostalgic chuckle:

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5 Responses to “The Jurassic Past and Fickle Future”


  1. 1 Kyle Cherrick March 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Great video.

    Not sure why Moore’s law doesn’t apply to meta-brand green, possibly because it isn’t specifically a technology. So Moore’s law may apply to the downward cost curve of solar, but not to a general brand such as green.

    It could also just need momentum, and the snowball is just now becoming big enough to roll faster and pickup steam.

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thoughts at the collision of business, brand and creativity

I'm Ryan Cunningham. I help companies and culture play nice with each other. At CREATURE we call this Brand Strategy, a term that carries a nice halo of reliability and structure. Here, I'm just another guy who thinks about the world and writes it down from time to time.

The result is a pile of knowledge to be used in, and for, the future. Feel free to sift through the heap for useful connections.

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