That Unimaginable Future

photo shows silver pins interconnected in a network of black string on a white board

As humans, we sometimes have trouble visualizing that which is not yet in existence. Back at the dawn of personal computing, when some were predicting that most homes would eventually have a computer in them, a common question was, “Why would they?”

People just struggled to imagine all the uses that would emerge.

Later, after the wonders of cable television spread across the land, talk of a new kind of communication technology arose—sort of a two-way or interactive television. These earliest visions of the internet were also met with dismissal, as people wondered what good that would be.

The lesson in this history? It may be that we are only ever scratching the surface of the potential capabilities of emerging technologies. There are many things on the horizon: ubiquitous internet access across the globe from low Earth orbit satellites, 5G and 6G and ever-faster connectivity, cloud storage of software and data at ever-decreasing prices, the “internet of things,” virtual reality and augmented reality, electronics in more and more devices… and much more.

The possibilities thrill us.

In our research, we assume that it’s beyond our capacity to foresee all the applications on the way, but we also believe that perhaps their ramifications can be guessed at. For instance…

  • More semiconductors will be needed for more devices.
  • Screens will show up in many new places on many new things, we can reasonably suppose.
  • We can readily imagine that mobile devices will handle increasing amounts of data and apps.
  • Information storage and traffic on mobile could expand exponentially.

So instead of pretending we can predict that unimaginable future, we strive to understand the structure of related industries and how these relationships might develop. Then we determine which established companies may benefit, and we’ll try to identify emerging companies with key technologies.

Then, we sort this out into what is investable, and we manage portfolios in keeping with this background. We don’t predict the future; we imagine some probable possibilities.

Clients, if you have some insight that might help us, or want to talk about this, please email us or call.

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Probabilities Versus Possibilities

photo shows a goldfish with a shark fin strapped to it swimming with the fin above water

Our energy is a finite resource. Sure, we consume food and we sleep to replenish our bodies, but they too don’t last forever. The basic formula for kinetic energy requires velocity—movement. But we don’t always direct our movement in the most skillful ways.

For instance, we humans are great at focusing on low-probability events. After all, these are the events that catch headlines: “if it bleeds, it leads” the saying goes. (I mean, how do you think the world ended up with Shark Week?)

We wrote recently about bear attacks, among all things, and now we’re thinking more deeply about these ideas. What if instead of placing so much energy into unlikely (albeit scary) events, we limit our focus a little: what if we focused more instead on what’s probable?

In the markets, we hope to see at least the typical patterns of probability. Some ups and downs every year, a general trajectory of more up than down across almost any stretch of five or more years. No guarantees. But these are the general probabilities of the long-term proposition.

We don’t lock into losses by treating drops like the end of the world. Of course fatal shark attacks do happen, they are real, but we don’t stay out of the pool because one time somebody got eaten out in the open sea. That just wouldn’t make a ton of sense, huh?

The possibilities are endless, and they could consume us until our last breath. Let’s direct more energy toward what’s probable.

Clients, want to discuss what’s probable and suitable for your situation? Reach out anytime.

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What Are You Looking At?

© Can Stock Photo / sanayamirza

In planning, we take a look at the world in which we operate. Our plans need to be grounded in reality to have a chance to work out. If I plan to learn to fly by flapping my arms vigorously, the laws of biology and physics are going to have an impact.

When we look at the world, two kinds of things are especially pertinent. Challenges are the obstacles to our success. The stuff in between the challenges are possibilities. The Wright brothers evidently spent no time trying the arm-flapping thing, or fussing about the challenges of physics and biology. Eventually, one of their possibilities was converted into the accomplishment of flight.

The way some people talk about challenges, fighting them or overcoming them seems to be a key element of success. In that line of thinking, challenges occupy a central role.

I have been in a situation where the challenges seemed impossible. In fact, many have failed to overcome the same kind of challenges. Reflecting later on this chapter in life, a surprising realization emerged.

Under the pressures of the situation, I had no time to think about anything but the possibilities. After the initial planning, the challenges turned out to be totally irrelevant.

The realization: when you focus on your possibilities, your challenges disappear.

Thus the question in the title. What are you looking at? Your focus, your perception, these things change the world.

We’ll be thinking about this more. There are applications to other parts of our work for you. In the meantime, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.