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Looking Beyond … Visionary Behavior

November 13, 2013 11:00 AM | Category: Better Services,  | by Jim DeMarco

In 1492, the farthest anyone could look into the future was 12 miles.  As Christopher Columbus was sailing across the Atlantic to become the umpteenth “discoverer” of a world that had long been populated, he could climb 89 feet to the top of the Santa Maria’s mainmast.  Reputably a tall man (six feet was well above average for that era), from that perch Columbus could see only 12 miles to the horizon.  Yet we credit Columbus as one of the greatest visionaries of the last millennium.  Why?  Columbus’ greatness came not because of what he could see, but because his pursuit of a vision led to a discovery that truly did change things for the whole world.  

And also because he got it wrong.  The Indies he found were not what he had predicted at all, but something far more impactful on his (and indeed, the New World’s) society than even he had hoped.  For good or for ill, Columbus painted a picture of the world that was very different than most had assumed. He then went forward to prove his picture made sense, only to discover something that was in line with his vision, but far more complex and impactful than he could have imagined.  All visionaries should be so lucky.

In my job as CTO for Redknee, I have the privilege of discussing the future of our business with some of our industry’s most respected visionaries.  These luminaries paint mental pictures of what will happen next in our business.  The subjects of these pictures can vary, from the nature of retail shopping to the bits and bytes of hosted data centers and analytics software.  Usually it’s the low level technology pictures that evolve relatively predictably, and the business evolutionary stories that are harder to define - but not always.  

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