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The Other 1%

Another 1% is emerging that is just as important as the economic divide that Occupy Wall Street is protesting. Its a digital divide not between that haves and the have-nots but between the know and the know-nots.

I just read Helen Coster’s list in Forbes “Eight Hot Startups that aren’t Household Names…Yet.” The striking thing about this list is that these 8 companies (all great) provide tools that have been used for several years by the top 1% of innovators in our economy.

If you’ve successfully navigated the web to find this post then surely you have heard of and probably used DropBox, SurveyMonkey, Spotify and Lookout. This, no doubt, places you and hopefully your companies in the top 1% — part of the technocrati.

This tech 1% is not merely a group of crazed, early adopting technophiles and Apple fanboys. It’s a group of engaged innovators capable of utilizing and creating tools to drive productivity and efficiency in all areas of their lives. If Helen is right (and I fear she is) that most people have never heard of these companies much less adopted their services, then there is a vast group that is being left behind.

The 99% that has been left behind are struggling to find relevance in today’s rapidly changing, tech driven economy. Not only is technology driving productivity and eliminating jobs, but the jobs that are left require increasing levels of knowledge and skills with current technology — just to be minimally productive. (I have a feeling that when pre-historic man invented the spear, those that did not adopt the new technology did not survive for long.)

Short blog posts are best, so I will leave a broad prescription for bridging this digital divide to another post. It will require at least two things: The 99% will need to take their heads out of the sand and recognize that change and learning are required to avoid extinction. And, second, society needs to focus on re-educating the 99% if we are to avoid revolution.

2 Responses to “ “The Other 1%”

  1. Ted Rubin says:

    Great post Jim. There needs to be a lot of educating done in this country… most importantly a total re-vamp of how we educate and what tools we instill in order to survive and thrive in today’s evolving economic realities.

  2. Matt Howard says:

    If we’re going to re-educate the 99%, then we must start by radically re-inventing education.

    Sounds daunting, i know. But, it’s true. A single person, Sal Khan, has created a hugely innovative platform that is turning education on it’s head. Take your lessons at home. Do your homework in school. Have fun!

    And just yesterday they released their computer science curriculum. truly amazing stuff! Hope for the 99% and 1% both!

    http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/08/khan-academy-adds-computer-science-courses/

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