Back in the day, there was no such thing as “video on demand.”
We watched whatever came on, whenever it came on, on the ten channels that showed up clearly.
Sunday mornings offered a predictable and ever-repeating mix of movies: Abbot and Costello, The Marx Brothers, and an assortment of “monster” flicks.
I’ve never been much of a horror fan (although I do have three children), but one of my regular favorites was Godzilla, the mighty, fire-breathing lizard-beast (or whatever).
There were many variations on the original, but the plot of all the movies was pretty much always the same: something disturbed Godzilla from his (her?) slumber, whereupon he found a nearby city to attack.
Upon arrival in said city, he proceeded to stomp around, destroying some buildings while walking right past others, leaving them intact.
There was no predicting which buildings would be stomped upon and which would not. The only thing you knew for sure was that when it was over, the city would look a whole lot different.
And that, my commendably patient reader, is my oversimplified metaphor for what AI is going to do to your business.
Like Godzilla, it will ruin some, leave some alone, and change the landscape entirely.
And nobody – not you, not me, not any of the self-appointed “experts” out there, many of whom couldn’t even spell AI six months ago – knows what is going to happen.
That’s a corner we can’t yet see around.
Look for the Opportunity
Staying with Godzilla for one more excruciating minute, here’s what people never did in those movies when he showed up:
Pretend he wasn’t a threat.
Write articles about why he wasn’t as strong as he looks.
Suggest that even though he would eventually get there, he was way off in the distance, so there was nothing to worry about right now.
But that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing in the face of AI.
Instead of preparing or, even better, looking for the opportunity within – “Hmm… once Godzilla leaves, there will be a lot of people in need of home repair” – they are just hoping it doesn’t happen.
Twenty-five years ago, I worked for the cable company (sorry).
Thanks to dumb luck, I ended up as part of a tiny group of people in a corner of the company who got involved very early in this new thing called “the Internet.”
It began as nothing. Few people in the company knew or cared what we were doing.
But within a year or two, and simply because I had necessarily gotten up to speed on the topic, I was in meetings and taking phone calls from people three levels up from me in the company.
It was like I was translating a foreign language for people who desperately needed to understand what was happening, but didn’t.
Eventually, I had enough of a head start that I was able to leave my job and start my own Internet-based thing.
AI feels the same way to me. It’s a once-in-a-generation thing and it’s coming. Fast.
And while I think it’s way too early to try and predict what its impact will be – nobody anticipated Uber or Facebook or even online dating back then – there is an open window here for all of us.
To get out in front.
To learn as much as we can.
To spend as little time as possible worrying about what it might do to the way we currently earn a living and as much time as possible looking for the opportunities.
Because once Godzilla is done stomping around, there are going to be a ton of them.
- Who/what is your favorite movie monster?
- What were you doing 25 years ago (extra credit if you were in utero)?
- Can you recommend any resources – podcasts, blogs, people – that you’ve found particularly useful in keeping tabs on AI?
Share your answers below…