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Posted: April 21, 2014

The futurist: The “Great Barrier Backlash”

Exposing the ethical gray zone

Thomas Frey
  • Businesses that employ the use of fee-traps, legal shenanigans, or anything construed as customer abuse will have their tactics bared to the public with a hacker’s bullseye painted squarely on their executive officers.
  • Communities that make it hard to do business will be publicly exposed. Excessive fees, filings, forms, and reporting will be publicly berated, castigated, and red-flagged. Businesses will go elsewhere.
  • Government agencies that still require forms be typed on a typewriter will not only be avoided but may even receive death threats for their stupidity.

It’s no longer possible to hide behind a cloak of secrecy when every person you interact with has the ability to write their own headlines on social media, text a friend, or capture the problem on video.

The New Age of Global Competitiveness

The people of South Korea are very aggressive. They are highly educated, tech savvy, and determined to make a name for themselves.

They have risen from a poverty-stricken, destitute nation to one of the most influential, world-class countries in the world today.

In 1957 South Korea had a lower per capita GDP than Ghana, the poorest country in the world, but today theirs is over 3 times that of China, and over 18 times those living in the penniless squalors of North Korea.

Companies in Japan, China, Singapore, and South Korea are aggressively competing for the same money as businesses in North and South America and Europe.

However, competitiveness is not just about being smarter or more aggressive, it’s also about having fewer barriers to contend with.

  1. Executives that can squeeze in eight meetings a day rather than five because of fewer traffic problems will be more competitive.
  2. Companies that are required to fill out five fewer government forms a year will be more competitive.
  3. People who spend 100 hours less each year resolving accounting issues as a result of questionable fees and erroneous charges will also be far more competitive.
  4. Travelers who are able to circumvent security and passport checks will have far more time to pay attention to other things.
  5. Both people and businesses who spend 40% fewer hours a year doing their taxes will have far more resources to dedicate towards more important issues.

Final Thoughts

In our increasingly fluid society, people and businesses that don’t feel welcome will leave. And they may not just leave the local community, they may move to an entirely different country. Most countries are actively recruiting talented people.

Global power is constantly shifting. The 1800s were dominated by the British. The 1900s were the American century. The 2000s show major signs of shifting towards Asia. 

One of the major factors in this power shift will be personal effectiveness, and our effectiveness gets far better when we are able to strip away at all the numerous barriers we all have to contend with.

On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I texted two photos to Deb, only to get tagged with a $24 charge. Normal texts cost only 50 cents, but texting photos, unbeknownst to me, costs far more.

Sneaky charges like this are very disruptive. They disrupt our normal thinking, divert attention, and create a painful wariness about using online services in an era where online services can be the critical difference between success and failure. 

When it comes to fee traps, fines and penalties, the monetary gains of the few, create losses for the many. They represent unnecessary barriers to progress, and unnecessary challenges at a time where only the most resilient will survive.

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Thomas Frey is the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and currently Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.  At the Institute, he has developed original research studies, enabling him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come.  His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level of government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Unilever, GE, Blackmont Capital, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, Capital One, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, STAMATS, Bell Canada, American Chemical Society, Times of India, Leaders in Dubai, and many more. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer.

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