The Internet of Things (and a little #SDRR)

If you’ve been following my adventures, I teed up this current blog series by telling you it was originally going to be one interview on DisrupTV that turned into something else. So, while I’ve promised to cover the material, it seems that doing it ad seriatum is just not going to work. As they say on Twitter, #SDRR works its way into a lot of things. Even the IoT, as the cognoscenti refer to their toys…

So, onward. What I learned about the Internet of Things from my first job is even more true today.

My first real job was being a mother. I mean, I did other things and even got paid for them, but nothing used to get a young woman as close to an executive position as running a family. (Remember, my babies were born a long time ago.) And that’s also where I got my first management lesson: people are more important than things. (In case you’re wondering how the S part of #SDRR fits in here, let me just remind you, that’s how you generally become a mother.)

Remember the beginning of the internet? It was the internet of people. Just like high school. No one had to invent internet dating. It just happened, because that’s what people do.

My big concern is that the growth of the IoT will have two unintended consequences. First is that there already is a growing divide between the haves and the have nots, and I’m not sure it goes in the usual direction. Think about driving a Tesla vs. renting a bike or scooter. One is a box you’re alone in, the other has a built-in socializing factor. You’re literally open to encounters. And babies start with encounters. And this, as I’ll get to in the next episode, is also related to the Future of Work, aka, FoW.

But here’s a little FoW preview story. I was in the presence of a master of the universe, a partner in one of the huge consulting firms, as he was gleefully describing a world with no people. He reveled in the idea of ordering his latte-cappuchino-thing from his app, paying with the attached account while he was in the elevator, then jumping the line to pick it up after it was prepared by a robot and handed over by the one employee in the whole store. And, even better, he had stock in the company and it would rise because no people means no salaries and benefits and all those other things people need. No thought as to what would happen to the minimum wage workers trying to get a break in the job market, not to mention the underemployed college grads.

Now the interesting thing is, the birthrate among people like him is pretty low. For him, zero, and I can understand that. Oh I almost forgot. Shout out to Bryony Cole, who I met at the first Constellation Connected Enterprise! She’s a star in the IoST – Internet of Sex Things, and maybe her products will replace guys like him.

Here’s the unintended consequence, and yes, it does come back to sex.

A big divide means that low end jobs will be rare, so something will fill in for that part of the economy, some sort of politically-guaranteed annual income. And what will happen? The birth rate will rise among the have nots, because babies are fun. And because the haves will have lots of IoTs, they won’t be making babies so much.

Maybe this is a good thing. The point is, these are all interrelated. When your IoT is more satisfying than an only partially dependable human, you will probably stay with it. How many times a day do you consult your smart phone? How many times a day do you consult a human?

I do hope you have a robust Internet of Humans!

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