Who is your future customer? The magazine cover to the left is off target; the masses don’t fly around Buck Rogers style. Instead they surf the Web.
How to get the future right?
For writers and other creators, futurology might come across as a time-waster. Isn’t it hard enough to sell to the people here and now?
But we indie types often knock the Big Guys for being slow to change, and now we need to do better.
My young stepson recently helped educate me. He asked the Beloved and me what we watched on YouTube when we were kids. We said we didn’t—YouTube did not exist then. And he could not understand it.
We tried explaining cable television to him. He could not wrap his head around how that might work. Something is only on at a certain time, and if you miss it, that’s it? What do you mean, “That’s it?” Why don’t you just turn on your computer later and watch it then?
And so it went, question after question as he tried to clarify, and failed to grasp it.
Think about what that means for a second. The problem isn’t that he rejects our the old alternative model as inferior. He can’t even grasp it. He cannot form a mental picture in his head of how such a model would work and why a person might have lived under it.
This boy has grown up in a world where, as far as he knows, it has always been possible to turn on a machine and watch, listen, read or interact with any content he wants, anytime he wants it.
Now think ahead a decade or so to when my stepson has a credit card. What content will he want to buy with it? How will he respond to any content providers still operating under this old way?
There is time to change before he’s actually a customer. But first, you have to develop the mentality that change is possible. Otherwise, you’ll be sunk, and it’s not as many years away as you think.
Looking ahead, what do you think will most change? And how can writers and others adjust to it?
If you teach your kid they need to buy media, you’ve taught them wrong.
I’ve always loved that cover. It’s for Skylark of Space by E.E. Doc Smith, not Armageddon—2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan.
The two stories out of Amazing Stories August 1928 that get confused.