While my profession is as a data scientist, I often share that what I feel sets me out, and yes, above many of my peers is a background filled with an array of experiences and educations, and further an ability to reflect and transfer these experiences and educations. I started my life as a military officer and continued on to business before getting into the data driven life. The military, economics, and business all gave me great insight about how humans truly behave, and how to see how they truly behave.
An influential writing for me is and remains Economic Sophismsby Frederic Bastiat, French Economist from the early 19th century. While the author’s intended subject scope was public policy regarding economics, his ideas have a wide range of application. He talks about "seeing what cannot be seen". I would like to apply the idea here.
I get it....
Now, I find more similarity in both times depicted than I do differences. Moreover, I think Bill nailed it on the head. In both these pictures there was a general public paying attention to one thing instead of another. I argue that a bait and switch has occurred here. Online attributes the quote to George W Bush:
" We judge ourselves by our best intentions, and others by their worst actions"
In 1989, pop culture was not following Bill Gates the way he is followed now. In 1989 the greatest technologies were not being used to follow Gates, but rather pop stars and movie stars and royals. Television, video, etc........the average person was not using this to achieve the highest human form, but rather more often lower. Do some research on how VHS beat Beta......cause it wasn't for providing better quality copies of "The Princess Bride" to all the public middle and high schools.
Are the masses doing the cat thing? Yes. I personally like them also. Having said that, Bill Gates nailed it. I love nothing more than hearing about some kid who came up from the slums of India who made an app that is now making millions disrupting the commercial airline industry. The sister whose autistic brother motivated her to create an online healthcare exchange that would become the predecessor to the US government healthcare exchange system. The father whose diabetic son and wife lead him to quit his day job and create an automated insulin distribution system. This is happening no longer at MIT or CalTech like in 1989. This is happening in no longer only in houses prosperous enough to have a garage. This is now happening in apartments, schools, in jails.
I was walking around last night in the grocery store and saw Christmas decorations out, I came across a remote control, wireless remote-adapter for Christmas lights. Even thought I have never done anything like, I was briefly amazed that I KNOW that if I wanted to, I could make that by myself for the cost of a raspberry Pi computer (which I still have not taken out of the box). It was an empowering moment.
Okay, so maybe not that serious. I still content that the day's of "It takes money to make money" are not over, but their absolute reign definitely is. Technology, and the democratization of it, I argue is the leading cause. When some hear "Power to the People" they imagine someone holding a rifle in the air. I imagine someone holding a computer with connectivity. When I imagine the 2019 computer owner, I do not imagine a cat complaining at a table, but rather a 'cat' running the table.
So when I say that Bill Gates had it right, this is not inferring he knew the future. I am rather saying that comparing the best of 1989 with...the not best of 2019 is sleight of hand.
Check out Frederic Bastiat! If you use one of the links I provided Amazon cuts me into the normal pricing as an associate!
Thanks for reading!
I would love to hear your thoughts as well. Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org