Your Own Personal Sports Almanac

What’s wrong, McFly? Chicken?

Going Back to the Future to predict startup success

Great Scott, it’s not a hoax! Today really is the 21st of October in 2015, which means that Doc, Marty and Jennifer can fly over any minute now in their Delorean. Sadly, flying cars have not been invented yet and despite the cool videos, a consumer friendly hoverboard is still far away.

Like many of my generation, I saw the Back to the Future movies when I was a kid. I remember they blew my mind. Although I must say I’ve always liked the second installment best. Probably for the same reasons I never really minded the Ewoks, but I digress.

Apart from the hoverboard, flying cars and self-tying Nikes, the movie got a lot of things right about the future. The movie version of 2015 features an automated gas station, non-military drones and even a remote controlled dog walker. Video calls, Google Glass type of eyewear and the scanning of eyes and fingerprints for identification were all spot on. There are more examples, but it’s safe to say that the effects of automation didn’t go unnoticed by the makers.

That’s because it’s a process that has been going on for a while. From the moment mankind discovered fire, we’ve been busy finding new forms of technology to make life more pleasant. The biggest change they failed to predict was the Internet, but that’s a common omission in old movies about the future.

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Okay, so the hoverboard chase scene was one of the coolest things I ever saw, but it’s not the thing that immediately comes to mind when I think about Back to the Future. What always fascinated me the most was the drama that ensued when old Biff stole the Greys Sports Almanac, which detailed all kinds of sports statistics. The book was a useless piece of nostalgia for old Biff in 2015, but became priceless when he managed to sneak it back to 1985 and give it to his younger self. Biff became a millionaire betting on sport games and the ‘old’ future was replaced by a new future.

You can’t deny it isn’t tempting. To act on knowledge about the future. For example, if you could go back in time and invest in a small tech company called Uber, you would have yourself a tech equivalent of the Sports Almanac. Or take a look at all the other start-ups which exploded in the last couple of years; from small teams scraping to get by to solid tech companies with a lot of value. At some point, all of them went to Web Summit or a different tech conference in search for investors and to pitch their ideas to the world. It would be nice if there was some way to pick out the cream from the crop, because for every success story there are also 10 start-ups that don’t make it.

You can’t deny it isn’t tempting. To act on knowledge about the future.

What’s wrong, McFly? Chicken?

I believe there is such a way. In one of the earlier blog posts I wrote about how great ideas don’t just fall out of the sky, but are always a reaction to a current problem. My opinion hasn’t changed. Timing is one of those important factors for the success of a start-up and that’s no coincidence.

You can’t really control timing, but you can look at the big heap of start-ups while comparing them and their solutions to our current way of living and the state of the economy.

Subsequently you filter out the ones that seem to solve or address a current problem. That is the closest you can get to your own personal Sports Almanac.

I guess that’s why we are talking about Social Productivity now. Every day we see news articles about worried union reps and workers fearing for more uncertainties. Every week there are news reports with statistics showing that the regular 9–5 workweek is losing ground rapidly. These are all signs that the job market is once again changing due to automation and as always, there are two sides of the coin.

There are those who reject and resist, and those who embrace and thrive. A professor of mine once said that:

when you resist something or someone, you’re also dependent of the thing that you try to resist

I always liked that observation and try to live by it.

With Floown we therefore give people and organizations the opportunity to stop resisting those changes and start thriving off them. We like to think that we’re in the second group, embracing the changes and thriving off them. With Floown we offer a solution to an existing and growing problem. We want to help organizations to join the second group. And you do want to belong to the second group right? Or maybe you’re chicken. What’s wrong, McFly? Chicken?!

This article was originally published on our website. Visit Floown.com for more writing like this.

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