"Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood." Henry Miller
The events of last September did more than stun the world, it brought confusion to all quarters, the business sector included. Believing that companies, entrepreneurs, investors, and employees alike want a road map through the newly foggy landscape, we asked some high-profile experts for help. What trends, we asked, will mark our progress through the business world over the coming year? Here are the directions that authors, futurists, management consultants, and demographers - people like Faith Popcorn, Harry S. Dent Jr., Michael Hammer, Daniel Pink, J. Walker Smith, and William Frey - told us they'd give to those navigating this 2002 economy.
THE BUYING OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME
Harry S. Dent Jr., an investment strategist and author of the bestseller The Roaring 2000s, uses the past as a window to view the future. Comparing the demographic, investment, and technological cycles of the 1920s to today, Dent sees striking parallels. Eighty years ago the country witnessed a technology consolidation when automobiles (the tech industry of the early 1900s) reached a household penetration rate of 50 percent. "The magnitude of the NASDAQ crash of 2000-2001 was almost identical, and it occurred when the penetration rate of our current high-tech industries (computers, Internet, wireless services) hit that same 50 percent level."
Eerily, the year of that dip saw the first modern terrorist attack against America; an explosion on Wall Street in September 1920 shocked the business world. Nonetheless, the Roaring 20s followed on the heels of all that turmoil, and tech stocks that had seen a 70 percent downturn in 1920 saw a decade of unprecedented growth. "Auto stocks rose over tenfold during the 1920s," Dent notes.