When and if you’re dealing with possible scenario’s for the future, it is wise to read books from the past and discover what eminent people predicted a few years back. It will lead to a proper sense of humility.

In his 1995 book ‘The Road Ahead’ Bill Gates was quite convinced that we would see the birth of someting called The Information Super Highway. He percieved the Internet as just a precursor of that.  However, one has to admire him and his company for one of the speediest transformations in corporate history a bit later.

William H. Davidow, famous for his sales and marketing stunts at Intel and his, even today still applicable, book ‘Marketing High Technology’ (1986), published ‘The Virtual Corporation. Structuring and revitalizing the Corporation for the 21st Century’ in 1992, together with Michael S. Malone, another great business mind.

Only to point out that predictions should be treated with the utmost caution, I quote a passage relevant for today’s transformations in publishing and media industries.

‘Why print at all?

With broadband telecommunications, image compression, full-motion video transmission and storage on CD-ROM and laser disk, and portable color liquid crystal displays, within a generation it propably will be cheaper to recieve all this information from a hand-held terminal than it will from newsprint.

Information that is not only fully customized to the particular interests of each consumer but backed by libraries of supporting material for curious minds.

Hints at what is to come can be found in Apple’s promotion of just such a terminal, to be called the Knowledge Navigator, and Knight-Ridder’s current investigations into videotex and nonprint newspapers’

I rest my case.

On second thoughts however, how many years are considered to be one generation?

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