Blogging, Blessings & the Age of Data
Well, I am really liking this blogging stuff. When I started this site I did it with the idea to write about my passion of personal finance, investing with the goal of financial independence. Initially the process of setting up this blog was tedious and frustrating because I had no idea what I was doing. I am not computer illiterate by any means but I am a user of technology, not a creator of it. Once I started to catch on to it though, I was increasingly able to enjoy the process. I am standing on the shoulders of all of those who came before me that developed all of these great apps and knowledge that I benefit from. How amazing is that?
I come back to this because it’s true – we truly live in a fantastic time. The information that is available to us is just amazing. My parents were small business owners and investors from an early age. They knew to save, they were very conservative with their money but the best it got for them in their accumulation years was 2.5% MER mutual funds that cost $500 a trade all with trailing commissions. They didn’t have the ability to easily scrutinize companies to decide if they were worth forming a small ownership position with, or not. The investment knowledge that we take for granted today was as a tightly held secret as the 13th degree Mason ceremony only 25 years ago.
The Information Age
They have been talking about the information age for a long time but I have got to think that this is truly coming to fruition as we are living on this planet. We can share how we can save money, make money, invest money, talk about how we live. Talk about how we can make a living without having to work for someone else.
I see the employment reports coming in and see the dour reports of ‘self employment’ rising like it is ‘lower quality’ employment.. and then I think about all of those people making a living by throwing up their shingle on the world wide web – and why not? With the democratization of information people are going to be increasingly free to make their living with the skills that they have. The days of careers for 30 years in the same company / industry are numbered and I can’t think that this is a bad thing.
There are going to be more changes in how we organize our society and there will be challenges as well. I can’t help but think that with the absence of a widely agreed upon authority of respect in news isn’t causing increasing divisions in our society for example – but I think we will figure it out and these issues that we are encountering with this massive increase in collective capability will literally pay dividends to us all. The democratization of information is a real thing and you and I are proof of it.
How did we get here?
I believe the age we are experiencing right now had it’s start just over 500 years ago when Martin Luther hung his treatise on the door of his catholic church – an event that kicked off the protestant reformation. It is pretty neat that the Pope commemorated this event just a few months ago Before this time, the church guarded the information of christianinty jealously. Sermons were in Latin which the common people didn’t even understand. The Priests, by listening to confessions had information on the whole town. Martin Luther was the spark, but it was technology that really got it going – the printing press. This was the first step in the 500 years of process. Where will the next 500 years take us?
The Age of Data
I think a better name of the age we are starting to live in now is the Age of Data. Information in data is the key to our future. It is the necessary precondition for all of the innovation that is going on now. Robotics, the continuing evolution of the internet, automation, uber, analytics, machine learning – please do yourself a favour and read this article on machine learning from the NYT.
We are so blessed to live in this time. There seems to have been a collective pessimism in our society for the past decade or so. Maybe this was the first phase of our collective reaction to the massive increase of information that we are processing? I think the next wave or data innovation is going to enable us to better understand this explosion of information individually and I hope this will help us all begin to understand each other again – to begin to start to see what unites us rather than divides us.
I am excited to be a infinitesimally small part of this movement and I am looking to the future with optimism.
I hope we can learn from each other as we go along this journey.