As you may have noticed, I've been very early on some big cultural trends. I was into pickup way before it was mainstream, was one of the first "digital nomads", was living in an RV before the tiny house craze, and was playing poker profitably before it went big, etc.
This isn't because I'm clairvoyant or because I invented any of these things, it's just because I'm very comfortable with risk and am willing to try new things and see what happens.
I thought that it would be fun to talk about some things that I think will happen in the future. Maybe I'll be right and maybe we'll laugh at how far off I am, but maybe some will resonate with you and you'll get into them earlier than you would have otherwise.
1. Shared Assets
I think I'm one of the first on this, and that it's going to be big. I've bought the island, a place in Budapest, and part of a neighborhood in Vegas with my friends. I've actually been doing this for a long time-- in 2000 I organized my friends to buy a school bus together.
I think that the sharing economy has made us very comfortable with the idea of using other people's things, and that as it continues to flourish, it will also happen more privately.
The rise of the internet, travel, and communication also contribute to this. It's much easier to do these things now, and I don't think people have quite realized it yet.
I don't think most people understand how cheap and easy travel can be. Many people are mentally stuck in the age of expensive hotels and travel agents. As people dip their toes and realize how frictionless travel can be, I think it will become much more normal for people to travel a lot.
Right now all airlines are devaluing frequent flyer programs, which is going to make flying even cheaper. People like me are getting 20%-100% back in future flights every time we pay for a flight. As this loophole closes, cash prices for flights will continue to drop.
3. Solar/Electric Will Take Over
The environment is really important to me (when I took a test on which candidate I was most aligned with, Jill Stein was second), but I'm actually pretty optimistic on global warming and our future.
I think that we will hit a tipping point in the next few years where it actually makes financial sense to use alternative energy. We are so close. No one uses oil because they like it, they use it because it it's cheap and powerful. Battery technology and solar are almost at the point where they will be cheaper and more convenient.
Elon Musk has had a lot to do with this (his new Powerwall is actually a good value for stored energy), and I think it's possible that he had a significant permanent impact on our environment.
I think that this will happen even in developing countries, similar to how cell phone technology became widespread even when things like basic hygiene didn't.
4. We will become more compassionate
I wasn't around back then, but it seems like in the past there was much more rivalry and animosity between citizens of different countries. Now there is mostly rivalry between the politicians. I've been through the middle east and Russia and found all of the people to be very friendly and welcoming.
So I think we're already making a lot of progress. The internet has had a huge place in that, as we've gotten used to communicating with people all over the world. As we start to travel more and meet these people face to face, I think barriers will drop further.
5. We Will Eat Better
I've been into healthy eating for a really long time now, and so I'm really attuned to it. We're not where we could be, but it feels to me like we've passed "peak bad food". We're now much more aware of what's actually bad for us (factory farming, sugar, etc), and are starting to respond. It's so much easier now for me to find healthy food anywhere I travel than it was when I first started.
6. Jobs Will Become More Independent
Fifteen years ago there were approximately zero platforms for people to make money of their own initiative. Now you can write books, make audio books, sell music, drive people around, rent out your place, do odd jobs, or just about anything else.
As job security continues to fall and people become more aware of these opportunities, they will take them. This is a big win because it's essentially cutting out the middleman (the employer). I love buying things on Etsy from people who make them just for me.
And as more of the workforce takes these opportunities, more will pop up. This is maybe one of my favorite trends.
Hard to say I'm calling this one early, as it's the most popular beverage in the world, but I personally believe that tea is going to become a more popular beverage in the US in the same way coffee did with Starbucks.
Excess has become much less fashionable, and we've gotten some harsh reminders of what happens when people overextend themselves. Younger generations are using credit less and are interested in things like tiny houses.
I think that financial security will become increasingly "cool" as high spending becomes seen as foolish and try-hard.
9. The Education Bubble Will Pop
For a great many people, I think that school is now a terrible investment. In the same way that houses were being sold to people for whom they made no sense ("It's the American Dream!"), I think people for whom college doesn't make sense are being forced to attend ("It's the American Dream!").
With this inelastic demand, prices have skyrocketed as the value of the product has gone down. At some point, coupled with the rise of independent jobs where performance is the only thing that matters, people will start to realize that school doesn't make sense for a lot of people.
It's now very easy to learn online or through experience. It is possible to learn a ton at school as well, but many people don't. Most go for a credential that has become a rapidly depreciating asset.
I hope that this correction causes schools to become more accessible and more about learning than credentials. That's how they started out and what sparked their success as an institution.
Photo is the Budapest parliament building from the water. I just got back from Budapest and loved it. Now I'm in Vegas, but will be heading to Tokyo next month.
I have been thinking about making videos again and maybe doing Patreon.
Interesting post, I can agree with most of the points you mention. However, point 3 I don't think is going to happen.
I think the cost of solar in combination with battery storage will never be competitive with regular electricity prices. Look at the cost of the powerwall and household energy usage. I'm from Holland so I'll use Dutch prices and usage statistics.
So, 7000€ for 14kWh of storage with presumably 500 charging cycles, that makes 1€ per kWh, which is a quite high price. Regular electricity costs 0.20€ per kWh.
Further, you'd like to be energy independent with solar and batteries. However, a Dutch household on average uses 3300kWh per year, which is around 10kWh a day. That means that one Powerwall can only provide energy for only a day and a half... So, 2 days or more without sun and you're in trouble..
And then this is not all our energy usage. Here we use an additional 1500m3 of gas for heating and cooking. You can convert is to kWh by multiplying by 10, I found, so that's an additional 15000kWh! And then we haven't even talked about transportation...
I understand the ideal of energy independence, but here is just too much of wishful thinking going on.
I think, in fact, people do like oil just because it's cheap and powerful. It's the best we have, whether you like it or not.
Steam rises from my little glass teapot. It's the fifth brewing of the Tung Ting Oolong, so it's a little bit weak even though the color is still a clear gold. Employees of the tea shop are in front of me, an older couple across the way, and a single girl behind me. In the other room are more groups. The chatter rises above the music, but I can't understand any of it because it's all in Hungarian.
I'm here by myself. Two friends visited, but one had to go home to London, and the other to a conference in Zürich.
I have a tendency, when traveling alone, to stay holed up in my AirBnb. But after a day of that I wanted to get out. This place is perfect. I can drink my tea, feel like I'm around people, but not be distracted by their conversations.
My favorite game to play by myself is to imagine a kid version of myself could see me now. What would he think? Usually he'd just be surprised, I think. How random is it that I'm sitting in Budapest, by myself, writing? It's not significant in any way, but I wouldn't have guessed it, either.
Originally posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008
I know it's been a few days since I've written anything substantial. I can't say that I've been busy, just not much to write about. Today, however, is different!
For whatever reason I was just in a grumpy mood today. Maybe it's because I haven't done ANYTHING over the past 4 days! I haven't had to work, nothing left to do for school this semester, not a whole lot at home to do...nothing. I'm not the type of person that can just sit at home, without a thing in the world to do. Sure, I would love to be able to not work...but I better have lots of money to travel or be involved in other ways, OR I better be a stay at home mom.