Houston . . .
“The Eagle has landed,” and fifty years ago mankind had accomplished the heretofore seemingly impossible. Two men on the moon became a game changer and not in just the way most believe.
Yes, technology advancement owes much to these early space pioneers traceable to the 1950s; realistically a long process going back much further. Aerospace led innovation has ‘bled’ into all aspects of our 21st Century life.
The challenge going forward—what is the next ‘small step that will lead to one giant leap.’ Return to the moon or even humans on Mars is not the next step for humankind in this writer’s opinion. It seems that technology can readily enable those milestones; it is just a matter of spending and will power.
As the astronauts on the moon looked back at earth, they saw our ‘blue marble;’ tiny in the cosmos. The place we all call home is just a spec of dust in the overall physical universe—whose bounds (if they exist) have not yet been discovered.
Explorers have always pushed the limits of the known. Whether sailing towards the end of a ‘flat’ earth or sending robots out of the solar system (Voyagers I & II), learning about the unknown, albeit sometimes terrifying is integral to the human condition.
In 1969, the information age was in its infancy. One can make the case that the modern computing era began with the hypothetical Turing Machine in 1936.[i] However, computational power was centralized and only available to the very few.
As a college senior majoring in physics (1969-70), I was one of a handful who had access to a time-sharing system sixty some miles away in Atlanta, GA. Programmed using the then ‘new’ BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code)—this was state of the art.[ii]
Communications time was expensive, so we wrote our programs and transferred them to yellow tapes used to program the distant computer. Only then did the iterative ‘debugging’ process begin.
The 1960s and early 1970s saw the rise of the minicomputer and other independent devices that would become the so-called IBM Personal Computer popularized in the 1980s. The current computing device technology of choice is over 12 years old—iPhone and its competitors.
Some argue that this platform is aging, yet has the next stage been identified yet? The current rage, Big Data, AI, etc. are but applications and database schemas.[i] Game changing compute power is not yet mainstream.[ii]
Enterprise Digitalization is also a craze. Transforming mere mortal organizations into future juggernauts that promise to change businesses if not humankind. As with the Space Race of the last century, technology fallout and new ways of living will most like result in the year 2069 looking a lot different than the present.
Neil Armstrong made an interesting comment when he said, “One small step . . . “ The late comedian Eddie Cantor is credited with saying, “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.”[iii] That is one heck of a lot of small steps!!
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
The computing sector is no longer in its infancy. It could be that the next fifty years will become the century of something else.
In any event, we did not get to the moon overnight and we most likely will not arrive at our next major milestone by leaping either. Focus on your daily steps and who knows where your life long journey will take you. Go ahead and step off the last rung of your ladder.
How Will Your Next Small Step Become a Game Changer?
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Critical Mass: Value from the RBC Framework
Nuclear physicists define the term, “critical mass” as the amount of fissile material whereby a nuclear reaction is self-sustaining. From that original definition, the construct is further developed along societal and political terms as a function of the environment and number of adopters and their interdependencies that create enough of a consensus for individual actions that sustains an undertaking.
In 1996, the author published the first of several case studies on a societal interaction model based on the Relationships, Behavior and Conditions (RBC) construct among economic actors. Previously the model was only in the domain of academia.
This blog addresses contemporary issues from the RBC perspective and whether in the present state they are sustainable or not. Many readers may be familiar with the “Innovation Adoption Curve.” RBC seeks to enlighten the causality of behaviors that cause movement towards the critical mass that generates movement along this diffusion curve.
- Agility, Resiliency, Sustainability May 14, 2020
- Disrupting Disruption! May 11, 2020
- Tumultuous Decade: What’s Next for Oil & Gas? April 20, 2020
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to . . . Innovation! April 4, 2020
- Is Big Data Analysis Being Applied? March 24, 2020
Other Blogs by Dr. Shemwell
Dr. Shemwell is an author/contributor for the following 3rd party blogs.
So, You Want to be an Entrepreneur
Dr. Shemwell is a member of the Global Energy Mentors (GEM) Leadership Team. Every month he or one of his colleagues is posting timely tips to help entrepreneurs navigate the energy start up sector. Check out the Landing Page.
Governing Energy Blog
BTOES Insights is the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news. Dr. Shemwell is a contributor.
Consult 2050 connects organizations with a wide range of consultants all around the world. The firm operates an online marketplace for consultancy services.
Essays on Business and Information
This two volume set covers a series of newsletters and opinion pieces published circa 2002-2009, including Bug Lore–Lessons for the Online Economy that addressed real time systems vulnerabilities from Y2K (1998-99).
About the Author
Dr. Scott M. Shemwell has over 30 years technical and executive management experience primarily in the energy sector. He is the author of six books and has written extensively about the field of operations. Shemwell is the Managing Director of The Rapid Response Institute, a firm that focuses on providing its customers with solutions enabling Operational Excellence and regulatory compliance management. He has studied cultural interactions for more than 30 years—his dissertation; Cross Cultural Negotiations Between Japanese and American Businessmen: A Systems Analysis (Exploratory Study) is an early peer reviewed manuscript addressing the systemic structure of societal relationships.