A Cracked Crystal Ball

Candice eetimesI recently published my first science Fiction novel, All The Stars Are Suns.  Some thought that this represents a change in career direction.  Actually, no.  My career has always involved carefully gazing into my mental crystal ball.  Bad Hollywood images aside, the best crystal balls used by true devotees were always cracked, having many internal fracture lines that reflected and refracted the light of flickering candle light in new and unanticipated patterns such that they induced new visions.  A perfect optically clear sphere would be useless as no images would form.  Thus, I’m always filling my mental crystal with data and trying to see the future through imperfect data because to be an entrepreneur, and inventor, a science fiction author is all the same art… to see a fantastic future that may or may not come true on its own, but by seeing it, then ACTING ON IT, that future may become self-foreseeing.

An executive of a large company may rely on many visionaries, both in their employ and not.  But an inventor and entrepreneur, as I have been, must rely on their own visions.  They must both guess right about what is likely to happen and to have faith that they can steer that future towards their own vision.  So, no, I have not shifted careers.  I am still the same visionary.  The only thing that has changed is the means by which I promote my visions.

So, what do I see as the background, the ever shifting light falling upon my many cracked crystal ball?

First and foremost, we will very shortly see a dramatic shift toward both all-electric (not hybrid) and autonomous (driverless) vehicles.  This isn’t the realm of speculation anymore, but of timing.  It will happen.  And when it does happen it will cause massive disruptions in economic systems that we take for granted today.  So lets explore just a few those changes.

Fewer cars

Yes, fewer cars.  Simply put, transportation will shift from owner driven cars to transportation as a service, taxi and “Uber” to the uber (couldn’t help myself).  Why own a car when you can metaphorically whistle up a car on demand?

This will cause shifts in real estate development.  In my own neighborhood, a developer has already tried to get approval for a condo with “too few” parking spaces, arguing that by the time the construction is complete, people will drive fewer cars.  His timing was off… but his prognostication is dead on.  We will need fewer parking spaces in the future.

Service stations… remember those?  Seriously, gas stations will no longer be a thing.  Local repair shops?  Car dealerships?  Gone.  Fleet Sales/Leasing and centralized repair centers will replace them.

Strip Malls… those terrible eyesores, gone.  And with them the megamall.  People will be buying much of what they want online… but ironically, the experience of shopping in person will see a retro trend to hanging out in revitalized downtowns (or even newly constructed simulations of them e.g. Santana Row in San Jose) that have streets converted to pedestrian court yards and walk ways.

Apartments with large interior malls / food courts will be developed that look more like today’s five-star hotels.  People will dine out more as they have more time that we now use for commutes.

Suburbanites will convert their garages to more living space, their driveways to gardens, even their paved courts and cul-de-sacs will be converted to parks.

Freeways in some cities will be torn out, to be replaced with parks and greenways, some with better mass transit.

Now, given this vision… what business opportunities should you pursue?

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