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

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


Read more...

Tight and Loose

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

As schools implement more rigorous academic standards, holistic and flexible approaches to K-12 education flourish.


Read more...

Shipping News

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


Read more...

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Steve Balzac

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

082014BalzacBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."


Read more...

Buyer's Remorse

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Parents and students paying for college today are like homeowners who bought a house just before the housing bubble burst.


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