radical Insights.

Weekly Research and Commentary on the Future of Business and Technology.

The Residual Era.

Jun 20, 2022

Dear Friend,

With the summer turning up the heat here in Boulder, CO (and across the country), we are doing the equivalent on our book about “Disrupt Disruption” and “Practical Futurism”. We are getting close to opening the doors for you to join us on the (frustratingly long — the publishing industry truly needs to be disrupted) journey to turn this book into the best version of itself and get it into your hands. Stay tuned — it’s going to be a fun ride!

And now, this…

Practical Futurism // Decode. Disrupt. Transform.

If you took a course with us or caught a virtual keynote from be radical in the summer of 2020, you likely remember us emphasizing the idea of second-order implications.

That was a time of genuinely bewildering change, rapid adaptation, and a flurry of social and economic experiments. In the span of a few weeks, a huge swatch of the labor force started working remotely. Joining a Netflix watch party to stream Tiger King qualified as a social event. Boomers were ordering groceries online, and everyone was (supposedly) trying to buy a Peloton. Market analysts claimed that the COVID-19 bump might have pushed penetration and adoption of e-commerce ahead of the expected US trend-line by as much as five years. The long-fitful and lagging development of digital learning was suddenly thrown into overdrive by a nearly insatiable demand for new platforms and tools.

At be radical, we encouraged our clients and learners to think about these changes almost ecologically — to consider the cascading implications of the rise of remote work, say, or suddenly pervasive telemedicine and to make sense of the evolving landscape and anticipate new opportunities and challenges that might emerge.

We also encouraged our clients to explore what Pascal called the “residue” of these experimental surges. Surely, there would come a time when many professionals returned to the office, but what would be the lingering effect — the residue — of the large-scale experiment in working from home? Surely, there would come a time when many of us would return to the classroom, the gym, and IRL events and (very) happily log off Zoom, attempt to sell that Peloton, and curse the days of Clubhouse and Hopin, but how would expectations for each of those experiences have changed? What would savvy providers have learned from the fully digital and distributed period? What would be the lasting residue?

Summer of 2022 seems to be the residual era. Many of the experimental surges of the past two years have receded, but the world being revealed is not quite like the old one — we have a residue of permanent change, of altered expectations and perhaps an expanded sense of what is or isn’t socially / politically / economically possible. And as we continue to emerge from the COVID-defined time of the last two years, we also find ourselves at the end of a longer era of cheap money and abundant investment capital. Tech sector valuations have radically adjusted; crypto has crashed fully back to (through?) earth; startups are freezing hiring; and funding is much, much tighter. With markets pulling back from a sort of high-water mark of speculation and free-flowing funds, it will be fascinating to discover the residue that remains into the new era. What was created or learned that proves of lasting value? Which hype objects of the recent web3/NFT/metaverse frenzy actually endure, and which simply vanish into the digital ether (…pun intended)?

Time will soon tell. For now, welcome to the Residual Era. (via Jeffrey)

What We Are Reading

🌏 Today’s CEOs Don’t Just Lead Companies. They Lead Ecosystems. Business leaders are working in a new landscape, and navigating a messy set of social and political interests. Learning to operate at an ecosystem level will create alliances, widen influence and support organizations to maneuver within this uncharted territory. While the risks are real, so is the potential for upside. JaneRead

😞 Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy It has been defined that to be happy one needs mastery, belonging, and autonomy; but without an abundance oriented approach to life these will get you nowhere. MafeRead

💸 The End of the Millennial Lifestyle Subsidy With the era of cheap money and abundant venture capital ending, the “like Uber for X” models finally have to make the unit economics work — i.e., turn a profit. JeffreyRead

👩‍🏫 Inspiring Aspiring Leaders Leadership is a challenging concept. Challenging to define and to perform. This article provides not only one possible definition, but a glimpse into how Stanford prepares their students to become leaders. JulianRead

🧠 Tools for better thinking Want to think better? Here is a wonderfully curated list of tools to help you do so. PascalRead


👓 Send your kids outside: Shortsightedness has become an epidemic

🎮 The hidden truth of online gaming: We like doing mundane chores

🔌 The appeal of electrified fashion

🌔 What would have happened after Apollo?

⚛️ Ten years after the Higgs, physicists face the nightmare of finding nothing else

🔍 Incredible visual guide to the Aztec Pantheon

Internet Finds

There is a robot for everything — including your beehive. 🐝

In Case You Missed It

🏴‍☠️ The Heretic: The Simple Secret To Running a Productive Brainstorm

🧨 Disrupt Disruption: New this week — our conversation with David Bell, of Idea Farm Ventures. In our conversation, we dig into the wondrous world of direct-to-consumer businesses, what’s next for B2C companies, and the inner workings of disruptive innovation in the space.