For Christmas, I was given the book “Thank You for Being Late” by Thomas L. Friedman. He is the gentleman who wrote the book “The World is Flat”. I’ve really just started the book, but like it so far. I’d like to share with you a couple paragraphs that I thought were really interesting and pretty powerful.
So, here you go:
“One of the hardest things for the human mind to grasp is the power of exponential growth in anything – what happens when something keeps doubling or tripling over many years and just how big the numbers can get. So, whenever Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, tries to explain the impact of Moore’s law – what happens when you keep doubling the power of microchips every two years for fifty years – he uses this example: if you took Intel’s first-generation microchip from 1971, the 4004, and the latest chip Intel has on the market today, the sixth-generation Intel Core processor, you will see the Intel’s latest chip offers 2,500 times more performance, is 90,000 times more energy efficient, and is about 60,000 times lower in cost. To put it more vividly, Intel engineers did a rough calculation of what would happen had a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle improved at the same rate as microchips did under Moore’s law.
These are the numbers: Today, the Beetle would be able to go about three hundred thousand miles per hour. It would get two million miles per gallon of gas, and it would cost four cents! Intel engineers also estimated that if automobile fuel efficiency improved at the same rate as Moore’s law, you could, roughly speaking, drive a car your whole life on one tank of gasoline.”
Friedman pokes some fun at himself in the book as he talks about his other book, “The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century”. He wrote in in 2005 and wrote updated versions in 2006 & 2007. He admits, at that time he thought he had built a pretty solid framework of ideas on how things were working in this century. But, a humbled Friedman pointed out:
“When I was running around in 2004 declaring that the world was flat, Facebook didn’t event exist yet, ‘Twitter’ was still a sound, the cloud was still in the sky, 4G was a parking space, ‘applications’ were what you sent to college, LinkedIn was barely known and most people thought it was a prison, Big Data was a good name for a rap star, and Skype, for most people, was a typographical error.”
All these technologies blossomed after he wrote “The World Is Flat”, most of them around 2007. That seems like yesterday, but it’s been ten years now. Still really, a very short period of time.
Sometimes I just like to share things I find interesting. But I also stop and think that each of us are trying to digest these rapid changes and incorporate them into our daily lives and into our professional lives in the fastener industry. I was driving with my 21 year old son the other day and he blurted out something like, “technology is just changing so quickly these days – everything gets replaced as quickly as it is developed”. Something like that. He’s 21 and the pace of change even catches him off guard a bit. I made him read several paragraphs from Friedman’s book because he was 11 or 12 years old back in 2007. A lot of this stuff has all happened, not only in his lifetime but since he was in Middle School. It’s crazy.