About From the WTF? Economy to the Next Economy. Ladyada interviewed Tim. If you are interested in what made Adafruit what it is, Tim is one of the people that are in the scrolling credits of our company, read-this-book, our copies arrived, we do not do book reviews, this is one will will do – read, this, book- (video).
WTF? can be an expression of amazement or an expression of dismay. In today’s economy, we have far too much dismay along with our amazement, and technology bears some of the blame.
In WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us (Harper Business, October 2017), I share some of the techniques we’ve used at O’Reilly Media to make sense of and predict past innovation waves such as the commercialization of the internet, open source software, the internet as a platform, big data, open government, and the maker movement. I apply those same techniques to provide a framework for thinking about how today’s world—spanning platforms and networks, on-demand services, and artificial intelligence are changing the nature of business, education, government, financial markets, and the economy as a whole. I give tools for understanding how all the parts of modern digital businesses work together to create marketplace advantage and customer value, and why ultimately, they cannot succeed unless their ecosystem succeeds along with them.
The book is a combination of memoir, business strategy guide, and call to action. It covers the lessons that I’ve learned about technology platforms from four decades in the industry, and how they apply both to businesses and to the broader economy.
The core of the call to action is an exhortation to businesses to DO MORE with technology rather than just using it to cut costs and enrich their shareholders. Robots are going to take our jobs, they say. I say, “Only if that’s what we ask them to do!” I’ve had my fill of technological determinism. Technology is the solution to human problems, and we won’t run out of work till we run out of problems. Entrepreneurs need to set their sights on how we can use big data, sensors, and AI to create amazing human experiences and the economy of the future, making us all richer in the same way the tools of the first industrial revolution did. Yes, technology can eliminate labor and make things cheaper, but at its best, we use it to do things that were previously unimaginable! What is our poverty of imagination? What are the entrepreneurial leaps that will allow us to use the technology of today to build a better future, not just a more efficient one?
What’s the future? It’s up to us.