The Salmon of Doubt: And how to avoid being a luddite

Staying in front.

As we begin our third Internet decade, is it seemingly getting harder to keep pace?

Often referred to as “disruption”, the sheer pace of change in everything from software to transportation is starting to stress folks out over the age of 35.

It’s easy to see why it’s confusing when the world’s biggest taxi company (Uber) owns no vehicles and has no staff (sort of) and world largest publishing platform (Facebook) prints nothing and has no journalists. It seems as if the world is totally upside down.

Except, it’s not. The generation born after the mid-1990s (Generation Z – b1995 to 2009), are totally at ease with the explosion of the software-eating-the-world-paradigm – in very much the same way as Generation X (b1965 to 1984) understood how to programme a VCR (RIP, by the way).

It’s an illusion, then, brought on by ageing. So take a deep breath and stay calm.

Beautifully summed up by Douglas Adams in The Salmon of Doubt

“I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

Keeping up with the Zucks

Getting left behind is pretty terrifying, whether that’s in your career, or how your kids communicate, or the damn infernal music played today on Radio 1. We secretly know that once the younger generations get into their stride there will be no stopping them, not even us.

The trick to avoiding getting left behind is, therefore, pretty simple. Embrace the new, wash away the old…delete the space in your brain where you stored “how to programme a VCR” and download Snapchat onto your smartphone.

By Martin Dower, Aged 50 years and 11 months
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” DA