April 27th, 2012
gabrieleruttloff

8 Visionaries on How They Spot the Future

Found on Wired’s Epicenter: “Spotting the future is an art. We asked eight of our favorite visionaries for their techniques.

Paul Saffo

A longtime technology forecaster, Saffo is a managing director at the Silicon Valley investment research firm Discern. Formerly the director of the Institute for the Future, he is also a consulting professor in Stanford University’s engineering department.

There are four indicators I look for: contradictions, inversions, oddities, and coincidences. In 2007 stock prices and gold prices were both soaring. Usually you don’t see those prices high at the same time. When you see a contradiction like that, it means more fundamental change is ahead.

The second indicator is an inversion, where you see something that’s out of place. When the Mexican police captured the head of a drug cartel, in the photos the perpetrators were looking proudly at the camera while the cops were wearing ski masks. Usually it’s the reverse. To me that was an indicator that Mexico was very far from winning its war against the cartels.

Then there are oddities. When the Roomba robot vacuum was introduced in 2002, all the engineers I know were very excited, and I don’t recall them owning vacuums. I said, this is damn strange. This is not about cleaning floors, this is about scratching some kind of…read on… and more comments by Esther Dyson, Juan Enriquez, Tim O’Reilly, Vint Cerf, Chris Sacca, Joi Ito, Peter Schwartz.”

  1. axelgo reblogged this from futuresagency and added:
    Paul Saffo
  2. lilpiggiechen reblogged this from futuramb
  3. playthebside reblogged this from futuristgerd
  4. nikipattanaik reblogged this from futuramb
  5. emogentcorp reblogged this from futuresagency
  6. futuramb reblogged this from futuresagency
  7. futuristgerd reblogged this from futuresagency
  8. greggyour reblogged this from futuresagency
  9. futuresagency posted this