One of the most powerful forces in life and one of the most difficult to master is the power of anticipation. What does the future hold? It’s always impossible to be completely certain, and that uncertainty leads to a great deal of fear for many people, especially parents, business owners and investors. Trying to predict the future is nearly always a futile attempt, but without the ability to anticipate what is likely to happen, we are at a clear disadvantage—often leading people to inaction due to analysis paralysis. When the future is unclear, it is difficult to maintain a positive outlook and hope. Fear takes over in this situation.
This year happens to be a presidential election year in the United States. This always leads to a great deal of uncertainty as people from differing political viewpoints struggle to grapple with the outcomes of a new presidency. Will there be more war? More taxes? Perhaps, more freedom? It’s impossible to know for sure, and that causes entrepreneurs like myself to be very apprehensive about making more investments, especially in areas where increased regulations are almost guaranteed because of state pension liabilities and politicians who pride themselves on passing new laws, regardless of whether they are needed.
Business owners must run two businesses—the business as it is today and the one they believe they will have to run in the future. The greats had the power of anticipation. Bill Gates anticipated the rise of the PC. Henry Ford anticipated the automobile for every working family. The best in the world at what they do have the power to anticipate what is coming. Change is inevitable. How to adapt to the change is what is difficult. The answer to the future nearly always lies in the past.
Looking at trends, the assumptions that a group or groups of people make, as well as the underlying fundamentals behind their assumptions are, I believe, the best predictors of the future. Clearly, not all trends last or even make an impact on society, but an investor only needs to get a few trends right to be massively successful. Most investments do not work out, but a few “unicorns” can more than make up for the bad bets. Trends in business and government in the last 20 years leads to a fairly clear picture of the future. With all this in mind, here is what I anticipate in the next 10 years for the United States:
-Increased surveillance of the populace
-Increased taxation of regulation
-Insolvency for certain government departments and financial institutions
-Less overall employment
-The ubiquity of self-driving cars
-Student loans being defaulted on by millions of students, leading to lower credit scores and less consumer spending
-The disruption of many industries due to artificial intelligence
-Labor will be less important, due to increased use of robotics
Change is inevitable. Are you ready for what is coming?