Friday, July 16, 2010

Presentist - by Mitch Joel

Please don't treat my second statement as an excuse but as a disclaimer. I'm not feeling well and I believe that my mental faculties are being affected by this. 

I write in reaction to a great post by an admirable thinker, Mitch Joel about Presentists.

The blog post encouraged people to become more like Presentists than Futurists. 

Some questions he asked:

1. Does your website really live up to (and deliver on) everything you're doing on YouTube or Facebook?
No. I am guilty of using facebook primarily for personal reasons.

2. Are you really in touch with who is connected to you (instead of how many people)? 
I can answer this with a definite Yes!

3. Are you engaged and connected to your community in their channels, or are you still trying to drag everyone over to your own pages?
I am joining a lot of communities in different niches.

4. When someone does a search for you, your competitor or has a question that your products and services can answer, how great are you at helping them to find you (or better yet, if it's not the right fit do you happily refer them to someone who can help them)? 
Whew, Mitch, that was hard to understand. But yes, I do this a lot.

5. Are your platforms open? Do you allow people to share, comment and create content with your brand and for your brand?
Not at this point no or it may not be applicable.

6. Can people say anything they want about your products and services on your website?

It's a classic business model: brand misses the Internet wave, so instead of starting slowly now and engaging, they feel they may be best served by waiting on the sidelines for the next wave to hit. They mistaken the complete shifting of our world for a fad instead of what it truly is: a fundamental shift in how people are connected, consuming and creating media. The opportunity is still here for you to be present. Become a Presentist.
So, where is all of this going? Who knows and who cares

I care.  

Despite the pain that I am feeling, I still look forward to the future for all its hopes and promises. What is the present but a continuous movement of the NOW?

What is the NOW?

It is the coming of tomorrow, the movement of the hand, the changing of a digit, the turning of a calendar. It is a continuous stream of everlasting futures that have arrived.

If my weakened mental faculties still serve me well, I understand that Mitch's pragmatic approach to the present as a focus on "conditions" is what he was advocating. Hence, be a presentist rather than a futurist.

My reply,

One must note however that the lure of the present is not as powerful as the lure of the future. We have always been enthralled about the things that we don't know rather than the things that we already know (and maybe, want to forget)
In fact, I'll go out of my way to say that being a futurist treads the fine line between a "visionary" and an "escapist".
Some people, (including me sometimes) focus on the future for its promises and hopes. The present, as dreary, as wonderful or as exciting as can be, would always be a focus on a condition. That's why we don't use the terms "future condition". But we say "present condition."
That's my diagnosis on why a majority of people tend to be futurists. Even Google is guilty of this sometimes, in that they recently acquired a company which claims to predict the future - (See Recorded Future)
Having said that, I will now "try" to apply a balance between the Presentist and Futurist frame of mind, in my hope that I could gaze at the stars while keeping my feet planted on the ground.