All Human Beings: Prepare For foT Or Be Left Behind (Links Provided)

Living in South Korea helped cultivate my curiosity for learning about the future-of-things, or foT.

TL; DR — There is a real risk that many people will be left behind in the future world without acquiring the necessary skills and future-centered understanding. Whether it’s coding, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, Big Data, cultural intelligence or how to navigate global markets, we must all prepare ourselves. Below, I’ve included links and suggestions for how one could begin today to prepare themselves for the future-of-things.

There were a few reasons I went to the South Korea to work and live back in 2011.

But, there are three main reasons I stayed there for more than four years and plan to remain connected with the country:

For one, I have been fortunate to connect with some cool people while there, both Korean and other “ waegukins” (means foreigners)…

Two, despite the looming threats we all are aware of, South Korea is a super solid place to live. Many Americans prefer it over living at home these days.

And three:

It’s where I realized the importance of preparing for the future-of-things.

A beautiful view of Seoul. / Photo by JEONGUK HA

Yes, the food is wonderful (even for someone like me who doesn’t eat pork), and if I were a smartphone I’d say the Wi-Fi speed there is delicious. I’m also a big fan of Korean saunas. But, I really enjoyed living in a space where so many folks are on a serious hustle to survive — or thrive — in the future.


I couldn’t tell someone how many times I’ve seen an older Korean woman — let’s say who looks to be in her early to mid-70’s — sprint past me and across the street to catch a light.

And I laughed when one time I and some friends were waiting for a bus, and I asked one of them when the bus would be arriving, and she checked her app and said:

It’ll be here in 34 seconds.

Sure enough, 34 seconds later, we were boarding.

The way that technology & big data is used in South Korea is arguably the world’s best. The ease with which one can check an app to get real-time information about bus arrivals is a case in point. It’s no surprise that other countries are seeking to implement the ways in which South Korea utilizes Big Data to create high-level transportation efficiency.

Long exposure shot of autonomous subway in Suwon, just outside of Seoul / Photo by Mathew Schwartz.

This fits well with the hustle of many of the people who call Seoul home, too.

I was often amazed at the commitment students had, to wake up at 6 AM and study English — which I taught in Korea for four years — people looking to make a career change, prepare for a presentation in another country, expand their businesses into global markets, and more.

And this doesn’t only include Korean people.

Many expats in the country are on the hustle as well.

Hip-hop artist Atwaters is a great example. Big names are taking notice, too.

With time in the country, and in learning some of the history, one could come up with a few possible reasons why hustle is ingrained in Korean culture. The development of South Korea is nothing short of a miracle, from impoverished country to globally-relevant economy, but I’d say the miracle to a large degree is a reflection of the hustle, a for-better-or-worse kind of hustle that unfortunately leads to too many people committing suicide even while it yields the likes of Samsung, LG & high-performing students.


While living in South Korea and even seeing some of the rapid developments happening on the continent of Africa up close, and as technology advances faster than the Golden State Warriors did in last year’s playoffs, I cannot help but think about how important it is that every human being prepare, mostly those of us not in the top 1% of the world’s wealthy.

In South Korea, the looming sense is that either you hustle or get left behind.

And although I am certainly in support of making changes to the way things are in the country — children are simply put through too much — I do think that pretty much all people in the world need to prepare.

Wondering where to start? There are seven areas I’d recommend:

Computer Languages, Cryptocurrency, Critical Thinking, Creativity & Innovation, Change Management, Cultural Intelligence, Big Data

What word comes to mind when you think about these seven areas?

For me, the word is relevant.

Consider that global inequality is widening, and imagine what not having the relevant skills and competencies needed to thrive in the future will mean. According to, more than 70% of the world’s adults own under $10,000 in wealth. This may not be news to some, but when one thinks about the future-of-things, the question may come to mind: how will the near and distant future of technological development impact global inequality?

Here are some other questions that have come to mind:

  • What will I (or my future children) do when knowing how to code becomes as globally-relevant as speaking English?
  • Is coding the blue collar job of the future?
  • Could your job be automated? How long before you will be replaced?
  • How will you navigate a world that becomes more and more reliant on data, a world that becomes more and more a reflection of data-driven decisions?
  • How well will you be able to keep up with the advancements in technology?
  • How well will my children be able to compete in the future economy, as value providers to the marketplace, as entrepreneurs, as global citizens?

These are just some of the questions I have asked myself, questions that I think about often. I’m sure there are other critical ones.

I mostly began to ask myself these kinds of questions while living abroad, particularly while in South Korea, where one can use the same card for the bus, subway, Taxi & 7-eleven; where people get impatient if a webpage takes more than 2 seconds to load; where cities are being built that will hopefully make cars unnecessary; where one can find a Blockchain company creating a payment card that “holds” up to 30 cards using multi-card technology.

I’m sure most of us are ready to use a futuristic payment card, but how many of us are ready to design & develop one?

It’s for this and other reasons that I decided to start learning how to code. I’m not ready to say I plan to be a full-on software engineer, but I see the benefit in having some MEAN Stackability or Python understanding.

Moreover, I enrolled in a pretty cool Super Learning course on Udemy (you may be able to purchase it for the low low price of $10…and just FYI, I don’t receive any commission or anything) that teaches speed reading strategies one can use to read and comprehend faster.

Information and knowledge is expanding all the time, at rapid pace. There is sooo much content for us to digest, whether it’s watching videos, reading long Medium articles like this one :) or reading books.


I’ve always enjoyed learning.

And I’m pretty curious.

But, I remember a discussion I had with one of my adult ESL students, a young Korean guy, super smart, super curious, and into technology and the future (we rarely finished our one-hour class session on-time).

I’m sure most of us are ready to use a futuristic payment card, but how many of us are ready to design & develop one?

I remember how I wasn’t able to agree with him, when, in the midst of us discussing 3-D printers printing food and Elon Musk’s brain chip company, he told me that he was ready for singularity.

Singularity is the way many describe the point in the future when we human beings will integrate with machines.

I looked at him for a couple seconds, and then said:

“…naw man…”

What about you? Are you ready? Ready to put a Neuralink computer chip into your brain?

I’m actually ready for the 3-D printed food. I’ve re-watched Back To The Future II a hundred times probably. And I’m actually a big fan of Elon. He just delivered on his promise to create the world’s largest lithium ion battery.

But still, he can keep his brain chips.

Just like these folks can keep their A.I. religion.


We human beings need to prepare for foT.


Brain chips aside, there are ways we can prepare for the future-of-things.

Without competence in at least a few of these 7 areas, there’s a good chance you (and I) won’t thrive in the near and distant future, at least not in the way that others in the world will.

Choose one, a few, or all of them, and begin your preparation for the future-of-things today. For each area, I’ve included some (hopefully) useful links:

  1. Computer Languages: Coding is the new English, not Chinese

Udacity: Nanodegree Programs (some with guaranteed j-o-b’s)

Udemy: Complete Web Developer course by Colt Steele (course I’m currently doing alongside some other study)

Coding For Kids: The Tynker app

NOTE: In-demand jobs, foundation for machine learning and A.I. related jobs, creating software yourself, being able to “speak” to computers

2. Cryptocurrency: Welcome to the future of money.

Understanding Bitcoin, simply (for you or your 5-year-old)

Coinbase: Where you can purchase your first amount of digital money

But make sure you move your coins to a secure wallet. You don’t want your coins just laying around on the Internet, do you? :)

NOTE: Big banks are afraid of it.

3. Cultural Intelligence: Key skill for the 21st century.

Why You Need Cultural Intelligence & How To Develop It

Oh, and find cheap flights here, here and here. Go get immersed somewhere.

NOTE: People from different countries / cultures interact more than ever before, at work, online, in the marketplace, and will continue to do so.

4. Complex Problem-Solving / Critical Thinking: You’d think things are becoming easier because of the Internet and us getting closer to having a Sonny-from-iRobot in our homes, but, no…

Harvard Business Review: The World Is More Complex Than It Used To Be

Solving Complex Problems course, offered by Coursera

NOTE: The number of variables in the world is ever-increasing and changing.

5. Creativity: Being remarkable cuts through the noise of the Internet, and creativity is one great way to pursue the remarkable.

Coursera course, Ignite Your Everyday Creativity

NOTE: This may be the last thing robots can do better than us.

6. Data Analysis: Data is eeeeevvverrywhere. Can you see it?

Look at how many Data Analysis courses are available. High-demand! And a high-level salary

Give your Microsoft Excel skills a boost. You’ll be happy you did.

Also, consider taking control of your data

NOTE: Government requests for Facebook user data increased 27% last year

7. Change Management: The more we waste time or resources, the further behind we can fall.

12:04 Video From Dartmouth Professor On The Change Management Process

Creativity, Innovation & Change course on Coursera

NOTE: Steve Jobs gave some good insights on Change Management in that famous speech of his.

What word comes to mind when you think about these seven areas?
For me, the word is relevant.

Do you agree with the seven areas I chose? What are your thoughts about what the future will bring? What else needs to be top of mind when considering the future-of-things? If you’ve got any good links for any of the areas above that would be useful do share!

I hope that you (and I) will thrive in the future world…that we are on the hustle to be prepared for the future-of-things. Really, the future is now!

We are almost on Back To The Future II levels.

And consider that for every Marty McFly and Doc Brown, there almost always is a Biff.