I’m constantly inquiring about the impact of exponential change over the next 20 years. An equally important question is, what won’t change over the next two decades?
For entrepreneurs, understanding what is constant and what is changing can give you an enormous competitive edge over those who don’t.
Constants: Lessons from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos
The first time I heard this question answered was from Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos. Jeff was on stage at a press event, and a reporter asked him, “Jeff, what do you think is going to change most in the next 10 years?”
Jeff replied, “That’s a good question. But a better question is: What’s not going to change in the next 10-20 years?”
He went on to say that, from his perspective at Amazon, what won’t change is people’s desire for lower prices and faster delivery. Accordingly, Jeff built Amazon to focus on and invest billions into figuring out how to lower prices and increase the speed with which items are shipped to you.
“When you have something that you know is true,” says Jeff, “even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
What Else Won’t Change?
My friend Tony Robbins often speaks about the six fundamental human needs. My guess is that these too will remain constant as long as we humans retain our current neurochemistry.
The six basic human needs include:
1. Certainty: We need assurance that we can avoid pain and gain pleasure.
2. Uncertainty/Variety: We have a need for variety, continuous change, and stimulus.
3. Significance: We have a need to feel unique, important, and special.
4, Connection/Love: We need a strong feeling of connection with people, and we need to feel loved.
5. Growth: We need to expand each of our own capabilities and capacities.
6. Contribution: We need to contribute, and we need a sense of service and focus on giving back.
I’d also add a 7th to this list:
7. The individual’s desire for more freedom: We will constantly be looking for ways to achieve more freedom in our lives. One great example of this is the shift that’s happening in freelance work. From designers on 99Designs to Uber drivers to independent consultants, more and more people are choosing “freelance” career paths because doing so affords them freedom of time, location and association.
While these needs will remain constant, the way we fulfill them will change.
For entrepreneurs, to the extent that you can make achieving these basic needs easier or more fulfilling, people will preferentially adopt your approach. Which leads me to another key idea…
We will always continue to adopt things that are 10x better
As consumers, we will always adopt products and services that make our lives 10x better, easier or more fulfilling.
Despite the fact that we are generally resistant to change, when the perceived change of a new product is an order of magnitude better, we predictably make the jump and never look back.
This means that solving problems and creating value will always be in demand — and entrepreneurs are primed to do just this.
What Are Your Ideas?
If you’ve followed my blog or any of my work, you know that I believe that a LOT is going to change, driven by accelerating technologies, in the very near future.
I’d love to know what YOU think won’t change. Tweet your ideas to me @peterdiamandis with the hashtag #notchanging.
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