PSFK hosts a videochat with the author of ‘Present Shock’ on why we are stuck in the now and how it is affecting business.
Douglas believes that modern communications technologies have us so distracted with the ‘digital moment,’ constantly receiving emails, tweets, texts and the like, that people’s relationship with time is skewed. But as he says in the video below, he doesn’t expect us to totally ‘unplug,’ but rather stay plugged in as the programmers and creators of the digital culture we inhabit. Watch below to see Douglas’ take on how new business can take advantage of the emergence of this peer-to-peer, real-time economy.
Some highlights of the conversation are Douglas’ thesis on:
- the cult of the teenager as the peak of life during the mid-90’s
- how the emergence of digital culture was co-opted by corporate capitalism away from it’s ‘grunge’ roots by the segmentation of time into discrete parts
- the resulting consequence of humans chasing after the devices and services we carry around with us
The new ‘sideways’ economy and culture that’s emerging presents a new role for companies, Douglas continues. Instead of top-down communications with customers they need to enable peer-to-peer conversations, and to effectively do this people and businesses need to escape ‘Present Shock’ by being conscious of what part of the day it is, and what phase the moon we are in. Certain neurotransmitters dominate in humans during different phases of the moon, and knowing these can help you communicate with yourself, family, customers and audience. However such decisions to regain agency over time can be difficult for businesses, because they often go against market or investor expectations, as evidenced in the privatization of Dell. Although hard, Douglas says, these decisions are necessary to move with the ebb and flow of market and consumer trends rather than create a forced ‘hockey stick’ growth.