What’s the Next New Thing? I’m a member of the Blue Revolution team in Hawaii, even though I work in San Francisco, which is exploring Ocean Thermal Energy (OTEC). Recently, retired Hawaiian professionals have been writing long emails and getting into heated debates over a variety of topics. What’s going on? Why the long-winded discussions and tirades?
My theory is that the aging society is creating a large population of bored, educated, talented people who want to socialize and keep their minds alert by discussing major political, environmental, social and economic issues. Think “Email University”.
In the past, I’ve tripped over social needs that triggered technological breakthroughs — Mosaic, MP3 player, YouTube. This time the major social need is BOREDOM. Due to retirement and recession, there are hundreds of millions of people sitting around bored, isolated and frustrated by the lack of intellectual stimulation and social interaction, thus the long email discussions.
Thus, I sense a major opportunity: online forums running on the cloud. IBM, HP, Amazon and others are developing cloud services, but most are targeted at business, government and retail applications. There’s little talk of using them for socializing, discussing or intellectualizing to overcome boredom. This is a huge missed opportunity for IT service companies. My bet is that we’ll see a boom in online cloud forums as the baby boomer hits retirement in volume (8,000 hitting 60 per minute now) — “Golden Clouds”?