Thinking In 20 Year Time FramessteemCreated with Sketch.

in steem •  14 days ago 

How far ahead have you thought? What are you goals and plans set out for?

Many people undertake this exercise for their lives, especially when it comes to business. Planning is something that has proven results. The challenge is that we tend to not look far enough ahead.

Most companies has 3 or, maybe, 5 year goals. The same is true for individuals. They look ahead over the next half decade to determine what they want.

The challenge with this, especially in business, is that it is too short a time period.


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A better way to look at the world is to go out in 20 year blocks to try and establish a course of action.

Why 20 years?

To start, it is still within one's lifetime. In other words, it is something that most can comprehend. If it is business, it is well within the confines of the working career of most.

The other advantage to a longer perspective is it does help to overcome the short-term variations that we all encounter. For example, poor economies can last for a few years, completely upending a 5 year plan. While a 20 year plan might suffer a setback, there is still time to adjust.

Looking long-term removes the ups and downs. As our technologies get more powerful, it also opens up a world of possibilities. It is only by stepping back that we can realize the opportunities before they are obvious.

Take Steem for example. This blockchain is still shy of four years old. It only started in March of 2016 with the first direct payouts coming in July of that year. For the world of blockchain, this is a fairly old system. However, it is nothing when looking at things from the 20 year lens.

What will Steem be like in 2036 when it is 20 years old? How will things change between now and then? What applications will be a part of this as compared to today?

These are questions that take us away from the daily grind we all experience. Price fluctuations can be maddening. We are mired in a 2 year bear market (blowing any 3 year plans up). It seems like it will never end.

Maybe the crypto skeptics were right after all?


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I suggest going back and reading about the history of the Internet. I can assure you, it was not an overnight sensation either. The early days were a grind since it was a techy toy, something that few could use. In fact, at that time, most people were still trying to get accustomed to using computers. Computers were not sitting on everyone's desk as the start of the 1990s. There were still things called computer labs on college campuses.

If we go back 20 years ago, we were dealing with the hysteria of Y2K. Many felt our entire financial and communication system would go down because computers were not suited for the date starting with a 2. The Internet was basically static at that point with no Facebook or Twitter. Mobile still was a novelty with beepers used by many. Cell phones were a novelty for most at that point.

Today, all that is a given. In the Western Countries, mobile phone rates have to be over 90% penetration for adults. The Internet is something most use on a daily basis. We are not scared of technology in the same way we were decades ago.

We are also dealing with a lot more powerful technology. Thus, we are starting from a higher baseline.

It is approaching 11 years since the Bitcoin White Paper was introduced. The world of blockchain and cryptocurrency has exploded since that time. Yet, it is still something that is unfamiliar to most people. Hence, it is a novelty.

The Internet had an explosive first decade, one that was pale in comparison to what happened during the second. When I think about the difference in the medium from 1999 as compared to 2009, it is astounding. The increase in capabilities (along with usage) over that decade is amazing.

We will see the same thing happen in this industry. Between now and 2040, we are going to see the entire world change. The onset of the next wave of technological explosion is upon us. Blockchain is one of the core pieces that will remake the Internet. We are seeing it begin.

Twenty years ago, record companies were still making a ton of money off their recorded music. Long distance telephone service generated billions of dollars. Newspapers still were the primary form of information. Mapquest was the high tech way to get around (we printed the directions out). Office still has cables in them for Internet. We were all using dial up to log on.

What will the next 20 years look like? It is hard to say. However, we can project some of what we know into the future, realizing that technology is getting more powerful and is accepted easily by the majority of the population.

Blockchain came a long way in the last few years. If we look back just 3 years, we can see some explosive growth in the number of wallets that are out there. By the way, 20 years ago we had to actually buy a wallet.


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Novelties become mainstream. What is out on the fringe often becomes the norm. These are important characteristics of long term change. Thus, long term thinking really latches onto this.

The idea of change as commonplace cannot be overstated. It is a concept many overlook. Businesses often fail because they do not adapt. They operate like they always did not realizing how fatal that can be.

We all need to embrace change. I found that looking out decades gets me thinking about the changes taking place. It also helps me to overcome the minor blips that happen along the way. Setbacks are not permanent, especially when it comes to technology. I do not know the problems they were encountering with the Internet in 1994 but it is no longer an issue. Those challenges were over come long ago.

Consider your life and where you want to be in 20 years. What will it look like? Is this something you have even thought about?

Those of us with a few decades behind us can tell you how quickly the time passes. It will be 2030 before we know it and then the march towards 2040.

Instead of thinking about a couple years from now, begin to ponder a couple decades. Consider how this will adjust the things that you do today.

It brings on an entirely new perspective.


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There is a huge problem with thinking in 20 year time frames right now.

Everything that we, in the developed world rely on is pretty much going away.

In 20 years you will

  • Not live in a large city
  • You will grow all that you eat in your own greenhouses
  • We will definitely know we are in an ice-age.
  • What we call money will be something very different.
  • gold will have gone to its intrinsic value, a pretty yellow rock

So, if you are planning the next 20 years with the foundation of grocery stores, putting money into the stock market and retiring... well, reality is going to be a lot different.

With such a future change coming upon us, what kind of plans make it 20 years?

All valid points that I agree with. What we know today is not going to be around. Even some of the technologies we are seeing emerge only only temporary measures, an iteration towards something more.

We will see the entire energy sector, as an example change. To what is the question. While the rage is solar panels and wind turbines, that probably will be done by 2040. We might see things like geothermal, mirrors from space, or fusion taking over.

I guess a major part of the exercise is the realization that most everything will change is the key benefit. Most are not aware of this. They believe that the future will mirror the past.

The opportunities could be in things such as molecular assemblers, 3D or 4D printing, and synthetic biology. The biohackers of today will be the ones sitting on trillion dollar (or whatever we use to measure financial value) companies.

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It's all in your perspective. The problem with the 20 year window for me is that I'm 88 years old at the end of it. I don't expect to last that long.

It makes me sad, in some ways. I've been a relatively early adopter of a couple of things (Steem among others) and I have no hope of living to see it mature and be a part of society as a whole.

At my age, a 5 year window is a long ways out...