Changing Times

For better or worse, the world is A-Changin’ as Bobby Dylan once belted out. Once upon a time, I never was a big Dylan fan. His new work didn’t grab me. I had trouble understanding a single word that came out of his mouth. Let’s be honest, can you really understand the lyrics in some of his latest stuff? If you really do know it word for word, you’re popping a search on Bing or Google. Don’t try and deny it. Just nod your head and keep reading.

However, if you go back in time and listen to his early work, well, let’s just say there is gold in those hills. I can see why his era loved him. There is a reason Steve Jobs chased him down to put his music in the iTunes Store. There is a reason people listen to the babbling incoherence of Modern Times. They grasp ahold of a memory. It’s a good one.

I love streaming music. You get to listen to whatever you want, no need to take the buying plunge. Is there a better way to listen to early Dylan concerts or the 1968 Elvis comeback special? There is magic in streaming music. For a few bucks a month, you just have to look for it and take a listen.

Dylan and Elvis were part of changing eras. I imagine they felt it. And today, don’t you feel it too? The world is different now. I think most can feel the change. Our President came into office and said he’d be an agent for change. I don’t believe he knew what he signed up for. Personally, I think the world and economic conditions have changed him more. I think it has changed all of us in profound ways. Think about the following random and disconnected thoughts:

  • Depending on who you talk to or listen to at times, the healthcare law has had unintended consequences. I’m not debating the good or the bad. It’s just different. I haven’t looked at the latest numbers but I’d be curious how many people who previously didn’t have insurance are now on a plan. This was the talking point. Saving people were the marching orders. It’s amazing to me talking points can change a system in much broad and lasting ways. Even Charlemagne ran a campaign to restore Rome, even if most at the time didn’t know what it really stood for. Personally, I believe there are good measures in the law, pre-existing conditions for sure. But these were easy tweaks. Instead, the law shifts the money in profound ways, not necessarily from the haves to the have nots. Has anyone looked at the income gap lately? If you were on a corporate program, I can tell you the coverage has definitely changed. Why wouldn’t it? The incentives have changed. We get what we measure. It’s a shame more people didn’t look at those thousand plus pages and have a true debate. Then again, would anything have been accomplished? Shall we debate the hypothetical?
  • The stock market is on a run. The bears are just waiting for a collapse. I’ll probably get this wrong so don’t go dump a bunch of money in the market. But what if the market and economy have shifted dramatically, more than most have considered? The rules have changed. Yes, companies have to provide more in some cases. But what if you can shift the cost out altogether? What’s that do to the future outlook? Maybe, the bulls have reason to keep riding.
  • Perhaps, the next battle is on the economic front. In WWI, the largest superpowers in the world were France, Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, etc., Think about the cost of war. Try to think about the countries that bankrolled the conflict. Now, in your head rank the world powers on the big stage today. Then, compare the list with the countries who bankrolled the conflict with the countries that fought the war. This is something to consider.
  • Consider this, I worked with a few others on a logo design recently. We had designers submit from around the globe. Changes were made, ideas tossed about, and it cost less than $300. It took more time that I thought but it didn’t turn out bad. You can check the finished product out here (I might write a future post on how this worked). Companies used to spend big bucks on this type of work. After watching some restaurant show on the food network, I noticed working with a local partner still runs over a grand. Now, you get it in a few days and have a local presence. There is value in this. However, outsourcing work, finding it wherever it might be, does drive the cost down. It can create opportunities too.
  • Big companies want to make changes faster and drive results. There is less loyalty in the world. I used to see resumes with job changes of three to four years and wonder if this person will stick around. Or, what happened to cause them to leave? There is always a story. Now, one to two years is the new norm. Remember, people have the same choice on finding an opportunity. I could write pages on this. There is power in the idea.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the world in the coming years. Looking at the paper (or google and bing news), there is no denying a shift is happening between the growing income gap, economic shifts and rise in new and old world powers. I could write pages on the points above. I might still. What I can tell you is to play a role. Don’t sit back and watch. Because, yes, times are A-Changin’ and it’s happening before our eyes.