So I ask Mr Lucas in the car yesterday what he feels 2016 has in store. He looks sideways at me across the steering wheel, his brow furrows and a little thought bubble drifts slowly out of his left ear. You know, one of those thought bubbles that pops out of a man’s ear when his wife asks him a question, the answer to which may later be used in evidence against him.
There’s a pause. More pausing. He’s really bloody worried, so I qualify the question.
“I’m not talking about us,”
“I’m asking about the major trends you see when you look ahead to the coming year.”
Good, an easy question then.
More pause. I wait patiently, the wheels turn.
“Disruptive technologies and collaborative economy growth will become more mainstream,” he predicts.
I contemplate the response, funnily enough I was discussing disruptive technologies with someone yesterday too and no, not Uber or AirBnB, if I see another powerpoint presentation using those two as examples of the sharing economy I just might dance naked on my chair.
A disruptive what?
“What’s a disruptive technology?” pipes up a little voice from the back seat.
I’ll just say here we’re encouraging Little Voice to speak up, especially since he came back from his friend’s house last week, telling us how smart their family is.
“I’m not saying you’re not smart Mum,” he said (bless) “but they’re very smart. They talk about politics and medicine, and history and stuff.” That’s you Deb S, I know you’re reading this, le sigh.
Well both parents are medical specialists after all. And yes they are smart and the comment reminded me of how little we talk about anything other than sport with the kids.
So meanwhile, back at disruptive technologies, never let it be said men can’t multi task, because my husband is totally rocking the dialogue with Little Voice while driving. ‘Men can’t multi task’ is a cunning lie; it’s a learned helplessness ruse.
“It’s when someone invents something that changes the way things are done, using technology.”
Little Voice is quiet, I glance over my shoulder, he’s clearly still listening.
“What’s a collaborative economy?” he asks.
“It’s when people share things. Where do you go to borrow money?”
“To Mum?” he says. (Damn straight, she’s the biggest sucker).
No, I mean a lot of money.”
“Oh, a bank?” (not Mum? damn).
“That’s right, you borrow money from the bank and they charge you more money for borrowing it. Now, instead of going to the bank you can borrow money from other people, who put their money in a fund and might charge you less than the banks would. Its called peer to peer lending, or crowdfunding.”
Little Voice is quiet again, processing.
“OR,” he goes on to explain, “another example is a company called NewZulu. If you take a video of a shark at the beach today, you can send it from your phone instantly to New Zulu who use their clever technology to load it into a library. If Channel 9 need footage of the very shark you filmed today, they can pay NewZulu for your video, NewZulu pay you and keep a bit for themselves. That’s called crowdsourcing.”
Little Voice nods, he gets it, the little digital native.
“As for the sharing economy, Charlie next door and I have agreed one of us will buy a lawnmower and one of us a whippersnipper and we share. No point us both owning the same tools us there?”
“When I leave home,” says Little Voice, “I want to share a house with my friends, because I don’t want to live on my own and I want to be able to share things. Is that the same?”
So folks there are Mr Lucas’s predictions for 2016, look out for crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and peer to peer money economies. While they’ve been around for a while, they’re about to become a whole lot more mainstream.
You heard it here first.
My predictions will be here in the next edition.
Do you ever get told someone’s family is smarter than yours?!
What are your predictions for 2016?