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GDP goes down when you use Skype or Netflix

Did you know that watching Netflix or using iMessage can decrease our GDP? And I don’t mean that people spend more time playing instead of working. This Idea comes from the book „The second machine age.“ I just finished reading it yesterday and I can’t stop thinking about it.

The GDP idea

The basic idea is like this: We often switch to new services that are often free or cheap, but make our lives better. As the revenue pre user is usually much lower, the total revenue in the system goes down.

Just a few examples:

  • Switching from paid SMS to iMessage
  • Using Skype instead of Cellular or landline network
  • Watching Netflix instead of visiting DVD rental store
  • Using Wikipedia instead of books and libraries

It forks for companies too. At my current biggest project,, we use Trello and Podio to organize everything. It is free, but it helps us work smarter. In the past, we would have to use robust and expensive software tools for this. But this decreases the GDP.

The effect of the rise of social networks, information age and shared economy on GDP is just the sum of the companies‘ revenue? Our wellbeing is better than ever, we work smarter than ever but the GDP goes down?

Ok, the GDP is wrong, what now?

That seems wrong. I read before that GDP is not a good KPI for our world anymore, but this? Sure, you can spend the money you save on other products and services. The GDP will not decrease, but your wellbeing will be even higher. I am not an economist. I am not even sure that these thoughts are right, but we should use different metric for our happiness.

Few years ago I read the book „The Happiness manifesto“. The author Nic Marks proposes an Idea of new growth metric. It should measure how happy we are divided how much resources we use for that.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on what is visible to the eye. And the GDP.

I would say, not just the eye, but to the GDP as well.

The book

There are more great ideas in The Second Machine age book (it has a Czech translation). Andrew McAfee wrote the book. His TED talk „How the work would look like in the future“ works well as the books trailer. I can recommend the book. Read it and let me know what you think.

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16 years ago, I made a prediction about smart homes. How did I go?

[Reading time: 4 minutes]

16 years ago, I predicted the future of the Internet. I published an article on my blog about how internet and consumer technology will be like in 10 to 20 years. Now is the right time to check what how successful I was. Long story short: Yes, Elon musk does read my blog!

I wrote the post in fall of 2000. Google was only 2 years old then. My blog was already 4 years old. Back then, nobody called it a blog yet because the word „blog“ was not invented yet. So let’s see what I got right.

The home of the future

* Black text is 2000 Jiri.
* Red text is 2016 Jiri’s comments .
* Read the original article in Czech here

Everything gets connected

Lot of news came out about the home appliances recently New fridges and other appliances that are „more intelligent“ than their older counterparts. These new appliances use Internet and other computer technology. How will ehome look like in 10 to 20 years?
The essential part of the technology will be a local area network (LAN). The same one as used in companies or other institutions for sharing data and devices.

Oops, it seems like I missed Wifi completely. However, even more computers or devices connected to a network was hi-tech back then.

I believe that it will be not just computers, but all appliances at home. Microwaves, washing machines, irons or TVs will have not just a microprocessor, but also a network adapter. Your car will be connected as well, of course. There will be a wireless connection to your network wherever you go.

We do have smart TVs, but we are still waiting for smart irons 😉

The core of this network will be a home server. A classic server as we know if from computer networks and the internet. This server will perform all the e-home communication. This server will be connected to the Internet.

Yes! But now we call it „a smartphone“

I believe that a permanent home connection to the Internet will be a standard. I can’t guess its speed at all, though.

No more dial-up. 1 000 x faster connection. And not just at home.

Not just appliances will be connected, but obviously computers as well. There will be the same number of household members as computers. Everyone will need a computer for their work in few years, including kids.

The purpose of the home network.

What will be the purpose of it all? The network will offer basic functionality as we know it today, such as shared access to the Internet. Then you can use Internet from any computer or device, including your car.I also believe that there will not be any dedicated phone cable network. but everything will go through the Internet. We know this already from our operators, as they offer „Internet call“. You can also call within your home, something like an internal phone network.

Why would anyone need an internal phone network if you can just use Whatsapp? 😉

You can check all your devices and appliances at home. You can use how many lights are on and if a sensor shows that nobody is in the room, you can turn the light off. You can find the temperature outside, in each room, in your oven, bathtub or inside your computer. Simply wherever you place thermometers connected to „the home web“, you get the data.

Good one. Saying hello to Phillips Hue and Angee.

If you believe that your car does not have a good enough performance or fuel economy, you just download a new version of your car’s operating system.

Yes! Elon Musk does read my blog! Tesla, you are welcome!

Or, you can download new software to your bathroom that will measure your water consumption and can check and optimize its usage. It will absolutely be possible to play your MP3 files in the bathroom. These files can be stored in your computer or in your car.
Do you want to watch TV on your cellphone? No problem, you can do it with its 1600x1200p screen resolution. TV coverage is not a problem either, as the television is distributed solely through the internet. Your cell phone, or let’s say „mobile internet browser“ will be obviously connected too.

Ok, I did predict the smartphone 🙂

Our lifestyle will not be so much different
the Internet was the first big step to an universal global connection. E-home will be the next step. It is easy to reach information from anywhere in the world now. Getting information about your home will be just as easy. You will just need a phone.
Despite the advent of all that technology, I believe that our lifestyle will not be so much diffeerent. People will go to work in the morning. 99% of them will be white collar workers, physical work will be done by just 1% of people, using machines. People will buy most of the things in brick-and-mortar shops, will go to restaurants, schools and churches and visit their friends.

There are still definitely more than 1% of blue collar workers. However, the „new machine age“ is coming. Tesla is building highly robotized gigafactory and industry 4.0. is the new buzzword.
We do have smartphones and interconnected devices. Our life got a bit easier and better. But the thing that I am the most grateful for is that we still meet each other in person and enjoy the real life.

Article editor: Vojtěch Benedikt 😉 (thanks)

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4 things that help you finally start your business in 2016

[Reading time: 3 minutes.]

You may want to start your own business and escape the corporation. Being an entrepreneur seems like a cool job these days. Plus, you get the freedom of what to do everyday and as a bonus, you may get rich. Maybe you did your resolution to start your business some time ago. Years passed but you got nowhere closer to your goal. I was lucky that back in 2013: I switched from corporate warrior to an entrepreneur. Since I started, lot of people asked me for advice on how they should start themselves. After all these talks, a pattern emerged. There are several typical excuses why people claim they can’t start their business Looking back, I had them all.

Excuse no.1: „I will think it through over the weekend.“

Thinking something through or creating fancy business plan is often just procrastination. These may be good things but it is not what moves you forward. It is actions that count.

„Being productive means actually producing something.
-Ryan Holiday“

Give a phone call or organize a meeting with a potential partner. Ask a potential supplier for a quote. Sign up for training. Write an article. Ask your friends for review. As I covered in one of my previous articles, „There are dreamers who dream and dreamers who do“.

The second issue is timing. We like to postpone the first steps to the coming weekend. Then we postpone it to the next weekend, then to the Easter holiday, then to next year … you know the drill.

„Tommorow means never.
-Tim Ferris“

This is a strong, but valid statement by my favorite author described in Four Hour Workweek. Every business idea can be started today. You do not need to spend 5 hours of it, a simple task of 15 minutes that leads to a tangible output, is enough. If you spend 15 minutes producing something every day, you gain momentum..
I know what I am talking about, I fell to this trap as well. It took me 3 years to start this blog, from initial idea to the first article. “I will think through possible article ideas or research graphic templates over the weekend.”

Excuse no.2: „I am waiting for an idea.“

There is a common misperception about starting a business. “A founder waited years in his corporate cubicle, waiting for great idea. Then got the idea, made a plan, pitched to investors, raised millions, earned billions.” This is not how it works. For example, AirBnB founders started by renting an air mattress in their apartment. They failed constantly for two years, until they got it.

You do not have to wait for brilliant idea. Start doing something, learn your „business skills“ on easy tasks, try many things and the idea will come up. If you want to publish a book, start a blog. If you want to start an eshop, start selling things through ebay. If you want to create a global transaction app, start with a simple „flashlight“ app. Doing simple things will help you understand how an industry works and will highly increase the chance in finding a way how to improve it.

Excuse no.3: „I can’t afford sacrificing my salary.“

Been there. Your corporation gives you a nice salary. You get gradual rises. The company wants you to build an expensive lifestyle that is not easy to escape.

The monthly salary is a drug. What if you become an entrepreneur and one month, the money doesn’t come? What if you will have to sacrifice both ski weekends this month and all the fancy lattes?

After few years, infrequent income still scares me. All I can say, looking back: The leap is much easier than it seems. And the good news is: You do not need to quit immediately after starting your own business.

Excuse no.4: „I don’t have enough [put your own resource here].“

You do not need money to start a business. If you have a business idea that needs a lot of money to start, re-think it, it is always possible with less money. Want to open a pastry shop? Start with on-demand delivery and make the cakes in your home oven. Kickstarter helped starting an amazing businesses with almost no resources.
There are tons of stories of people who started their own business with no money while having a day job. Read „$100 dollar startup“ (“Startup za pakatel” in Czech) for the best stories. This is my favorite book on startups. I recommend it to everyone.

As I said, I fell to these traps myself. Many things can only be learnt the hard way, but avoiding these excuses is something you can do. I hope you liked the article, please let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section bellow.

Article editor: Vojtěch Benedikt 😉 (thanks)

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„Excuse me, sir: Your car!“

Sometimes, an older person comes to me when I park at night:
„Excuse me, sir, you forgot to turn off your headlights.“
„Don’t worry, they’ll turn off automatically in the few seconds,“ I answer.

I can’t wait the day when the story will go like this:
„Excuse me, sir, you just left your car in the middle of the street!“
I answer: „It’s actually not my car, but don’t worry, it’s picking up someone else around the corner in few seconds.“

I am big fan of shared economy, autonomous cars, I already shared a post on how this might help us have 3x less cars in future. What is your view on Autonomous cars, Uber and the future of mobility?

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3 habits of people who live their dreams

I attended the TEDxPrague conference few days ago. I had a chance to hear talks of amazing and successful people who are living their dream. There’s one thing that fascinates me. All of them mentioned same three simple habits that help them be successful:

1. They do what they want to do.

„Do what you want to do and let the others help you,“ said Barbara Sher, amazing charismatic 80 years old lady who invented life coaching. Jaroslav Beck wanted to work for Holywood, same for Emka Klučovská, a 15 year old prodigy. It seemed impossible at first, but it happened. „Live your Dream, not someone else’s“, said Jaroslav. So what would you do if money were no object? All of them started by setting an impossible goal, something that they really wanted. And it worked.

2. They actually do something. Every day.

„There are dreamers who dream and dreamers who do“, said Renata Chlumska, adventurer and first Czech and Swedish woman on Everest. All TEDxPrague speakers told the same story. They work hard on achieving their goals every day. Being productive actually means producing something. They take an easy step every day and eventually, things happen. Michael Carvan was contacted by a Spanish entrepreneur asking if he could help him produce drinkable water out of pig crap. Jaroslav Beck was „suddenly“ contacted by a world’s top Hollywood movie producer. Emka Klučovská was contacted by a top Hollywood visual effects studio. You can think that this is pure luck, but it is not. They did not wait on their couch for a call, just dreaming. They took action.

3. They say yes.

„I was asked to do an interview in English.“, said Emka during her TEDx talk, „But I did not speak English. I said yes anyway“. Then she worked really hard to learn English and finally, she made it. Michal Carvan said yes to the question if he can make drinking water out of Pig crap, even though nobody succeeded with this before. These people are not afraid of challenges. They say yes and then figure out, how to do it.

What is your dream?

How hard are these habits? Not really. 5 years ago, when I was a first year consulting associate at PwC, I set myself a goal: In 5 years, I want to be freelance management consultant, work with startups, train and lecture at a university. It seemed crazy and impossible at that time, I was just fresh out of school. But it did happen and I love my life 🙂

Renata Chlumská said that her current dream is to climb the tallest mountain on the moon. This sounds really crazy, but it made me think: Didn’t other great ideas sound supercrazy on the beginning? Like flying to space, snowboarding down Mt Everest or jumping down from stratosphere? They probably did. The sky is the limit. What is your dream?

If you like this post, check out my other posts on offline as a new luxury or amazing design thinking on everyday objector see all articles here.