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Final Thoughtsby Jeff Arnold | Men's Book Atlanta magazine | March 12, 2013
When Men’s Book Atlanta graciously asked me to be the first guest editor, my immediate response was “Thanks, but no thanks.” While I like flipping through the magazine, I wasn’t sure this would be a role that made sense for me—or them. However, after spending more time with the idea, and an afternoon with the editorial team, I became engaged in the creative process and realized this book was basically a glossy perspective on innovation and cultural trends, both of which have been significant motivators for me throughout my career. So, I became intrigued and agreed to do it.
I love being around people who are curious and creative, whether it’s my son’s basketball coach, who’s building a business plan on tackling youth concussion concerns for a Harvard Business School competition; our technology team, who’s developing a smartphone virtual exam room for Dr. Oz; or my daughter, who’s collaborating in real time on her song with musicians playing in Atlanta, Nashville and Las Vegas.
Because most of my career has been in the technology industry, I spend a lot of time considering the implications of new platforms and products in the creation of new opportunities. It is hard to believe, but we held our first iPhone just seven years ago, and, in the next seven years, it is predicted that there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet—including smartphones, tablets, television devices and computers—that’s six devices for each person on Earth! One-third of all data will either live in or pass through the cloud, improving business processes and creating better communication through video, translation tools and personal sensors, all sharing data to serve the world better. Today, we know 5 percent of what we will know in 50 years. In other words, in 50 years, 95 percent of what we will know will have been discovered in the past 50 years.
Thinking through the impact of these rapid technology changes and engaging with curious and creative thinkers makes for an interesting day, no matter whether at my offices, NYO, Jan Smith’s studio or the Men’s Book Atlanta’s conference room. I find inspiration in them all.