A long time ago, when the world was new, people used to live and work in the same place. Some people worked at home, some nearby in the village. Children grew up knowing how their families worked, sharing troubles and joys, adventures and routine. People felt in control of their lives.
Then a great magic transformed the land. Called the “Industrial Revolution,” it enticed the villagers away from their homes, brought them to ever-growing cities with promises of excitement and comforts beyond imagining. Instead of working at home, the people learned to work in great factories, to mass-produce all the wondrous inventions of the wizard called Manufacturing Technology (“MT” for short).
As the wizard’s magic grew in strength, some problems began to appear. The cities became more and more crowded. The air filled with fumes. The crowding produced increased violence. Many people began to feel constrained and oppressed, no longer in control of their lives. The wizard’s magic was a magic of increasing scale: Only the big could keep power-big companies, big government.
Then a new wizard appeared, called Information Technology, or “IT.” IT grew at a prodigious rate. IT started giving power to the people. IT let them communicate with each other, even see and hear each other at great distances. IT gave them new tools for thinking, for creating sounds, for creating visions, for creating worlds. In just a few score of years, IT’s magic became the means by which most people were doing their work.
But MT wasn’t defeated by this. You see, MT had captured the hearts and the minds of the people. MT made them think that they had to be where it’s big in order to survive, in order to have all the goodies that MT’s magic produced. They thought they had to “go” to work to go to work. They thought that work had to be separate from where they lived. The concept of BIGness had become the important thing to the people-and not what bigness actually did for them.
But not for everyone. Some people (the others though they were crazy, or weird, or subversive) began to use IT’s magic to restructure their lives. They found that they could work at home again, be with their families, spend time in the villages where they lived, and support themselves as well as when they were with the BIG groups. They found that IT let them regain control of their lives, to learn, to create, to expand. IT started quietly at first, the faint few whispers of the incoming tide of change. A person here and there working for the BIGs started to work at home some of the time. A few used the growing power of IT to start their own businesses at home. As IT’s magic grew, so did the number of people who discovered the old ways with the new tools. They began to build new home lives. IT grew. The number of “homies” (people who worked at home) grew. To millions.
Then one of those homies crowed too loudly. The BIGs became alarmed. They said, “You’re trying to destroy THE WAY! You’re being UNFAIR! You’re not playing by THE RULES! You’re trying to change THE GAME!” They attacked the homie like ratters a rat. You see, they didn’t realize that IT had made the rules obsolete, enabled the ways of work to be restructured.
But the tide of change kept coming in. The smarter organizations adapted the rules to the new ways. The rest of the world started to use IT’s magic to make new nows and new tomorrows. Governments fell. The world became more closely interconnected. The homies began to be in the majority. The cities began to be liveable once more.
And then-they all went down to the seashore and lived happily ever after, right? What’s a news story like this doing with such fairy tales? Let’s get serious!
Information technology is growing in power per buck at about 58 percent a year. IT’s been doing that for countless years. Think about it. That works out to a huge cost reduction for the information tools to do a growing number of information jobs. IT’ll keep doing that well into the future.
IT is the basis for the revolution in music and recording of all sorts: audio, video, written communications, etc. IT’s magic is literally giving power to the people….especially professionals. The music business and recording industry is but two of the areas where this is happening. Right now a low-budget home studio can produce high quality masters. No more $200-$2000 per hour studio rates like back in the day. There are people working out of a bedroom putting out high definition material for release as a feature film or for use as a movie or show on television. Same goes for radio. Others are topping the music charts by doing the same with songs and albums. The few BIG labels left standing today have been doing their recording internationally for quite some time.
Yet BIG can be beautiful. For some things, like collecting massive resources to do well understood or very complicated procedures, or quickly producing large quantities of stuff, BIG can’t be beat. For others, like artistic creativity, there may be a better way. Starting at home.
Here comes the tide.