“The visionary picture he paints of the future is captivating, informative, and thought-provoking. The MIT-educated Saylor exhibits a deep knowledge of the mobile world, and gives readers a peek free of boring geek-speak. Readers will be able understand and appreciate his clear and engaging exploration of a complex, red-hot, and thoroughly up-to-the minute topic.”
"It is a thoughtful romp across invention and innovation -- and blessedly free of MicroStrategy sales pitches."
"In The Mobile Wave his vision is clear—we face a future in which paper, devices such as phones, credit cards and cash, entertainment venues, doctor’s office visits, and even the classroom will be obsolete, or nearly so. He wants everyone on the bandwagon, from toddlers to grandparents."
With one month remaining until the presidential election, it seems every economic statistic is up for interpretation by each party. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the unemployment rate dipped from 8.1% to 7.8%, provoking both Democratic celebration and Republican consternation.
Whether or not you believe former General Electric CEO Jack Welch is right to question the integrity of this number, both sides need to pay less attention to it altogether. The denominator in this equation, the size of the labor force, excludes people who have given up looking for work, people working fewer hours than they want (the “underemployed”), etc. . . . It is a very misleading.
A better proxy for employment health is the employment-population ratio. This percentage has been flattish year-over-year and anchored between 58-59%; brushing multi-decade lows. Moreover, the growth of two-income households cannot be blamed for the relative contraction of the labor force. Median household income has been stagnant since the twenty-first century began. These are just two data points, but in aggregate households are making less money now with fewer people working on a relative basis.
Both parties are sparring to convince you its Obama’s fault or Bush’s or Clinton’s or some other scapegoat, but the fact remains we have a serious long-term jobs problem in this country. Government policy may be able to affect these trends in the short-term, but what drives economic growth if you look beyond a typical two-year or four-year election cycle? Tax policy, entitlements, healthcare costs, and military spending are important, but deal with how created wealth is used. Technological progress is what matters over time because that’s what drives wealth creation.
Technology put buggy makers and typewriter companies out of business and explains why Apple is the most valuable company on the planet. The 2010 History (formerly the History Channel) six-part miniseries, America: The Story of US reaches back hundreds of years to show how the United States’ development was primarily driven by technology, pure and simple.
Do you know why the Union won the Civil War? Not better generals and or a higher moral ground, but because of better infrastructure, including a more developed rail system and the use of the nascent telegraph to communicate with commanders in the field. Do you know which invention spurred westward expansion? Barbed wire allowed ranchers to better contain their cattle herds and secure property claims. Urbanization could not have occurred as rapidly without mass steel production enabling skyscraper construction.
The point is the key developments in American history resulted from technology and not from who lived in the White House or which party ran Congress. If we want to figure out how to prosper in the future we need to accept what the next major technological advance will be to transform the economy and absorb, adopt and it exploit it. Michael Saylor’s book, The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything makes a valid case that mobile technology is that advance.
Released in June, this book resonates loudly as we approach November. It is not another self-congratulatory CEO memoir, but a well-researched and interesting forecast for our economy. Saylor convincingly argues the growth of mobile technology marks not just another step in technological miniaturization, but an important evolution of software becoming an omnipresent force in our life in the coming years.
He uses a scientific metaphor to illustrate this point. He compares desktop PCs to solids, laptops to liquids, and mobility to a vapor that envelops us at all times. Saylor is not just an ordinary tech industry observer. He co-founded business intelligence behemoth MicroStrategy, Inc. (NSDQ: MSTR) in 1989 and is still its Chairman and CEO. This book uses an incredible number of historical examples of creative destruction, recent statistical data, and bold predictions to make the case this mobile wave will “transform 50% of the world’s GDP in the coming decade.”
Improvements in Near Field Communication (NFC) and multi-touch technologies will make mobile technology an integral part of our lives. Saylor predicts, “By 2025, we will see almost universal use of mobile computers as our primary means of navigating through modern society.”
How does this affect employment? Saylor references a McKinsey study which claims the Internet has created 2.6 jobs for every job it destroyed, small and medium-sized companies have increased productivity 10% via Internet adoption, and significant users have grown twice as much as other firms. I like this book because Saylor cogently takes a stand on where the economy is headed, and offers myriad examples of how mobile technology will transform various industries. It’s a blueprint for impending change and a sober warning for the laggards who resist it.
I wish our presidential candidates engaged in a more constructive discussion about the future of work instead of its current state. Corporate earnings may fluctuate quarter-to-quarter and employment rates may tick up or down each month, but the national discussion needs to be more far-sighted. While politics dictate a hyper focus on the here and now, I hope our current/next president reads Saylor’s book and maybe even watches America: The Story of US if he has a spare twelve hours!
Each party has favored industries but if Saylor’s correct, all companies will be dealing with this mobile wave, either by choice or eventually by necessity. Higher education should pay attention in terms of how to adapt their curricula to better serve their students. President Obama and former Governor Romney have both mentioned technical colleges and trade schools often as logical places to improve the labor force and stimulate the economy. If the winner allocates federal money for job training programs, then this book makes a compelling argument that workers need to be taught how to use and understand mobile technology in order to be competitive in an increasingly cutthroat labor market.
The Mobile Wave deals with one of our favorite trends we’ve been hammering on for the past few years. Here is USA Today,
The mobile wave is coming.
If you’re not ready to ride it, you’ll be swept away by a tsunami of change that will fundamentally alter the world.
That’s the theme of The Mobile Wave by software entrepreneur Michael Saylor. The book explores how mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads will change jobs, healthcare, banking, politics, law enforcement, and much more.
Does this sound familiar?
Consider what a trip to the doctor could mean. If you’re feeling ill, Saylor says, you might be able to connect with a doctor in India via your mobile device. He or she could diagnose and treat you for a fraction of the cost of visiting a doctor in the U.S.— maybe only $5 to $10.
Here is someone that understands that unemployment may be more structural than cyclical and therefore a must read for Chairman Bernanke. Ouch!
He predicts that as many as 10% of U.S. service sector workers — roughly 12 million people — could be laid off in the next five years as a result of mobile efficiencies.
Gotta get us a copy.
Choice, February 2013
“Fascinating and thought provoking. Saylor clearly lays out the advances and future expectations in a wide array of fields related to mobile communications….Highly recommended.”
About the Author
Michael Saylor is the chairman and CEO of the publicly traded company MicroStrategy. With degrees in engineering as well as Science, Technology, and Society from MIT, he is a science historian, and a formidable intellectual whom Slate called “mesmerizing.” He is not just a high-tech entrepreneur, but also a serious scholar whose success in business stems from his obsession since college—and really since childhood—with understanding what Thomas Kuhn called the “structure of scientific revolutions.” He has appeared on TV interview shows including 60 Minutes and Charlie Rose, and has been profiled in Newsweek, Time, Slate, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.