Home Back Issues January 2014 Age of disruption

Age of disruption

| Print |  Email
Articles - January 2014
Monday, December 09, 2013
Article Index
Age of disruption
China and climate change
Onshoring and the maker movement
The sharing economy
Cool, crappy or of-the-earth

BY LINDA BAKER


0114 Disruption 01On a dark and stormy night, Sridhar Solur, director of mobility and cloud services at Hewlett-Packard, is in the Portland offices of software firm New Relic, weighing in on a subject close to his heart. “It’s about the future,” the dapper, jeans-clad Solur tells the audience, most of whom look like the kind of people Dave Chen, a principal at Equilibrium Capital, was describing to me a few days earlier as  stereotypical 21st-century “disruptors”: “Guys who wear hats and have dogs underneath their desks.”

About 370,000 babies are born every day, observes Solur, whose talk, held in November, was the first in a monthly “FutureTalk” series co-sponsored by the Portland Incubator Experiment. Three billion people live in poverty, and about 2 million mobile devices are activated daily.

What’s Solur's point? Mobile technology has “rewritten” Alexander Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs; mobile phones, he observes wryly, have joined food, safety and shelter as essential to human existence. “Tell me one technology that has penetrated everyone’s life like mobile,” he says.

The New Relic audience is silent.

We live in a world where every aspect of human endeavor — science, business, education — is seemingly being overtaken by the tech sector. Or, as New Yorker writer Nathan Heller observed in a recent article about the social changes roiling San Francisco: “At some point, tech stopped being an industry and turned into the substrate of most things changing in urban culture.” But in a time where technological innovation is a constant, there are other major disruptions on the horizon: global warming, economic crisis and radical geo-demographic shifts — namely, the rise of China as a consumer culture.

To usher in the New Year, I asked a few executives in the business, policy and nonprofit sectors to opine on disruption in 2014: What are the game-changing forces (good and bad) shaping different industries? How are businesses and consumers reacting? And what is at stake for the way Oregonians live, work and play? The responses provide a snapshot of social, economic and environmental transformation, loosely framed around a common theme — a theme Solur sounded at the end of his talk. “To survive,” says this mobile futurist employed by an “incumbent” PC company, “every industry will have to transform.”



 

More Articles

The Bookseller

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Everyone knows college is expensive, but a look at the numbers brings that into sharp — and painful — focus.


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...

Three problems with Obama's immigration order

News
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR112614-immigration-thumb

By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS