In 1995, I was in Sydney where I listened to a speaker who was promoted as a Futurist. His presentation was about something called “The Internet”. After the breakfast I said to three of my colleagues: “I think this thing called the ‘Internet’ could turn out to be a pretty big thing. I think we should learn as much as we can about it.”
So we approached the speaker and put a proposal to him to have six two-hour monthly sessions with him to learn about the Internet. I thought it would take us about six months to learn all there was to know about the Internet. How wrong was I?
In January 2018, I began my 23rd year of monthly two-hour sessions with this same Futurist — still learning about the Internet. His name is Craig Rispin. He now has clients all around the world who hang on every word he utters about the changes ahead in every industry and every business. In 1995 I well recall Craig saying to me, “Max, the Internet will change everything it touches and it will touch almost everything!” How right was he?
Every opportunity I get I ask Craig,”What’s the next big thing?” As there is always something new on the horizon he would have wonderful examples. At the most recent session with Craig, in January, he told me of a car I had never heard of, called a Byton. Made in China, the Byton should be released to the world some time in 2019. Already, I think it will be my next car.
At the beginning of 2017 Craig was telling everyone that the use of robots in the hospitality industry was about to increase dramatically. Hilton Hotels started to experiment with robots in 2016.
And if you think robots will never be used in bars, you’re wrong! I took my family on a Christmas cruise on the Ovations of the Seas. An extremely popular bar on the ship was the Robot Bar. You simply place your order on the nearby iPad and watch the robots prepare your drink.
My format for thinking about, investing in and preparing for the future, is to learn from the past. Can you imagine the opportunities that abounded when the first printing press was invented in 1440? Or throughout the Industrial Revolution that began around 1760? Or, when the first telephone was invented in 1877? Or when the first light bulb was invented in 1879? Can you imagine the opportunities that were there for smart thinkers?
Think about aeroplanes. It was a little over 100 years ago (1903 to be precise) when the first powered flight happened. Wilbur Wright flew for 59 seconds over 852 feet. By 1969 man had landed on the moon. Today the Airbus 380 can carry 852 people and fly from Sydney to New York in 22 hours and 25 minutes. That is a distance of 9,950 miles or more than 16,000 kilometres.
Now, start to think about some of the spin-offs in aviation. Of course the one that interests me is tourism and hospitality. Think about the hotels, motels, bars, restaurants, taverns, etc., that are spin-offs of the development of the aircraft. Then, think about the development of airports and hotel and restaurant chains. Then, think about the people who are training the people to run those hotels, motels, bars, restaurants, and taverns and work in the airports. All full of opportunities for smart thinkers.
I have written an e-book titled Max’s Maxims to encourage you to “take time to think”. Part of this e-book is a presentation I structured, titled “The Five Most Important Words in the History of the World”. I believe success comes from learning from history. And I believe there are a zillion Internet opportunities that will present themselves over the next 10 years. The question is: Are you one of the clever people who will capitalise on one or more of these opportunities? We are so fortunate to be alive during the commencement and early period of the Internet revolution. Think what they will be writing about us in 100 years.
I like to learn from and be motivated by futurists like Walt Disney, who said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” I don’t think the term “Futurist” was in vogue in Disney’s time in the 1930s. But if ever there was a Futurist it had to be Walt Disney. His vision and drive to build the original Disneyland in Los Angeles was nothing less than amazing. I recall reading his application for funding was rejected by 105 banks. But his thinking, his persistence, dedication and sheer hard work made him enormously successful.
Hence, the first of my “Five Most Important Words in the History of the World” is “Dream”. Lionel Messi, the great Argentinian football player, once said, “You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.”
We know exercising is part of having a healthy life. Exercising our mind is required to have a successful life. Every morning, after I swim 50 laps, I challenge myself with: “If I was on trial today for being creative, what evidence could the prosecution use against me?”
I also challenge myself to learn something new every day. On my iPhone I have a section in Notes titled “Today I Learned”. I try to learn something new every day. My goal is to learn 365 new things each year. I continually review what I have learned. In always looking to learn new things I am always preparing myself for the future.
I look forward to taking you through the other four words in the not too-distant future. In the meantime, remember: “Tomorrow belongs to the person who prepares for it today!”
Max Hitchins, or The Hospitality Doctor Max, is recognised as a hospitality and tourism expert. He is the author of a series of e-books titled "How To Develop A Memory Like an Elephant" and speaks about marketing, motivation and management to audiences around the world.