Jack Uldrich
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A Sign of the Times

Posted in Change, Futurist

For almost a decade now I’ve had the pleasure of being represented by one of the world’s finest speakers bureaus, Leading Authorities.

I can still recall the immense satisfaction I felt after receiving in the mail my first contract for a paid speaking engagement. I excitedly signed the contract, stuffed it back in an envelope, sealed it, affixed a stamp and then deposited it in the mail. A week later, I received the counter-signed contract back via the U.S. Postal Service.

Soon after, as my number of speaking engagements slowly increased, I began receiving and sending the contracts back to Leading Authorities by fax. It took only a few minutes and I didn’t even need to expend 44 cents. Often, the counter-signed contract was faxed back to me within a day.

A few years ago, I switched to the even more convenient method of signing, scanning and sending an electronic copy of the contract. My previous four minutes of effort had now been whittled down to two minutes and the counter-signed contract was usually back within a few hours.

And, then just yesterday, I received my first electronic exchange document (EchoSign) which allowed me to sign the contract electronically. It took less than 30 seconds and a minute later I had the counter-signed contract back from Leading Authorities.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, having my effort reduced from two minutes to 30 seconds isn’t an earth-shaking event but it is a sign of the times: The speed of change is accelerating!

This is a message that as a professional futurist and business forecaster I constantly preach to my clients. As a person whose own life has been consistently made more convenient it is, however, one that I often overlook. Nevertheless, it’s important to stop and reflect on these advances – both big and small – because they are not going to stop anytime soon.

Within a few years we will look back at a lot of today’s mundane tasks as supremely inconvenient. For example, changing light bulbs will become an exceedingly rare task due to LEDs; having your blood drawn at the doctor’s office will seem unnecessarily cruel as a result of next-generation diagnostic technology; pulling out a credit card to pay for a cup of coffee will be deemed a major hassle because of mobile payment advances; and parallel parking will become a lost art due to the continued progress of self-driven automobiles.

Interested in learning about some larger trends? Check out these recent posts from futurist Jack Uldrich:

Top Ten Trends in Healthcare
Ten Mobile trends for CIOs to Consider Today
Top Ten Books on the Future for 2011



2 thoughts on “A Sign of the Times”

  1. Lonny Eachus says:

    I would like to add that OS X has had the ability to add your signature to .pdf files for 2-3 years now. The procedure is described here.

    It takes a few minutes of advance preparation, but after that, you can sign a .pdf that has been sent to you via email and send it right back.

  2. Jack Uldrich says:

    Lonny:

    You are correct. I should have mentioned that the technology has been around for awhile … it was just the first time that I’ve personally been the beneficiary of it. In this same way, LED lights, mobile payment technology and parallel parking technology also all exist today but I don’t yet use any of them. This will, of course, soon change.

    Jack

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