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Feb 10th, 2017 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

When Solid Things Turn Into Intangible Verbs

One of the most fascinating aspects about my job at Singularity University revolves around figuring out what the future will look like. I get to interact with our amazing faculty, talk to experts, learn from thought leaders and get my assumptions challenged by some of the brightest minds around.

And one of the deeply relevant and disruptive trends which we are already seeing is what Kevin Kelly describes as:

”In the next 30 years we will continue to take solid things — an automobile, a shoe — and turn them into intangible verbs. Products will become services and processes.”

The consequences of this are far reaching and deeply disruptive. Take ride-sharing companies such as Uber or Lyft: They took the $20,000+ capital expenditure which required constant service and maintenance and is typically insured (as it is so expensive to acquire in the first place) — a car — and turned it into an on-demand service delivered through an app. Instead of owning a car to drive yourself from A to B, you now simply uber.

What this means for entrepreneurs is that you should look hard at opportunities to turn solid things, which exist today, into intangible verbs. Unearthing these opportunities can lead to some of the biggest business opportunities of our times. Case in point: Car ownership vs Uber. Disk storage vs Dropbox. Server farms vs Amazon.

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