“We’re not going to have a jobless recovery. We’re going to have a jobless future.” – Jeff Jarvis, author of “What Would Google Do?”
It’s been said the Industrial Revolution is now complete as technology begins to replace the jobs that were created for people to run the machines.
Some have said we’re entering an intellectual property revolution, which makes sense with the Google purchase of Motorola Mobility.
Or perhaps it’s more a service-focused era where the jobs no longer run things, but provide expertise.
Regardless, Jarvis is right: Our jobs aren’t coming back.
Take, for instance, the book industry. Amazon began to kill retail bookstores, first by giving us online book buying and then the Kindle, and Apple finished the job with the iPad. Those jobs will never come back. No matter what happens to the economy, jobs for retail book salespeople will not reappear.
And the newspaper industry? With sales declining, advertising nearly non-existent, and everyone moving their subscriptions online, the jobs of the printers, the distributors, and the carriers will never reappear.
What about the jobs that created 8-tracks, then cassette tapes, and then CDs? Gone.
Technology, social media, and the web, in general, are creating a new revolution for us, yet a good majority of leaders are still doing business the way it’s always been done. Is it hope that the economy will recover and the things that made us successful in the past will, once again, work?
Hope is not a strategy.
Is there too much change and instability, what with the Great Recession and then the debt ceiling debate and then the S&P downgrade and then a continuous slide of the stock market that makes us want to hold on to what we know and not change?
Not changing is not a strategy.
I spend a good amount of my time traveling the country, talking with business leaders about using the web for growth. Do you know how often I hear “My customer isn’t on the Internet”? Every time.
Do you know how often I hear, “I have to close business by looking in the eyeballs of my client”? Every time.
Do you know how often I hear, “My customer isn’t a 20 year old so they’re not using social media”? Every time.
These are the same people who are hoping things will rebound to where they were or that they’ll retire before technology really has to be implemented into their companies.
But guess what? It’s not going to rebound. The jobs aren’t going to reappear. The way you’ve always done things is not going to work.
It’s our jobs, as business leaders to create jobs from something that doesn’t, right now, exist, so we can form a new and prosperous economy.
Otherwise Jarvis is right: We’ll have a jobless future.
This first ran as my weekly column in Crain’s, the Chicago business journal.