"Buckle up because we're headed for crazy times." Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify, said from the stage of the Ottawa's National Arts Center to some 900+ Shopify employees.
Crazy times indeed. 2016 will be a pivotal year for technology and this in large part due to the widespread adoption and availability of high-speed internet access.
There is no denying that "always-on, instant access" has fundamentally, and irrevocably changed the way we interact with each other and the world around us. Yet, it's easy to take for granted - like air - so we may not always appreciate how everything has changed.
Consider that just 5 years ago, the idea that a crowdsourced taxi service seemed impossible and driverless cars were little more than science fiction fodder.
Yet today, Uber has not only proved it has a viable business model, it's disrupting, creating, and transforming other industries in the process. Thanks to Google's self-driving car program (which, thanks to the cloud, has logged 75 years worth of driving experience) the automotive industry now expects there to be 10 million self-driving cars on the road by 2020. Compare that to the 15 million Ford Model Ts sold during the 19 year period of 1908-1927, and it's not difficult to imagine we're standing at the edge of a brave new era.
At the heart of it all, one theme persists; speed.
Whether it's fresh food delivery, having the bandwidth to render VR environments in real time, same day shipping, or having an ecommerce website stood up in significantly less time, it's all about getting things done more quickly and efficiently than we've ever done before.
Image via: Waitbutwhy.com - The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence
If nothing else, we've become accustomed to achieving end results faster and every day there's another story about how humans have been automated out of the process. Our constant online connection has forced us to rethink how everything is done (online or off) and it's impacting every level of society.
That is why this month on the Shopify Plus blog we'll be examining the theme of speed from a number of different angles and how everything getting faster is affecting us.
We'll examine the emergence of automated text-based assistants and how they're signaling the beginning of the post-app era.
You'll learn about how services like UberRUSH and UberEATS are transforming the local food ecommerce industry.
We'll talk about Elon Musk's Hyperloop and how it'll impact logistics, 3D Printing and what it's doing for rapid prototyping and product development, along with a four-part series that documents the different eras of mainstream internet use.
Everything is about to change, and if we don't reflect on where we've been, it'll be far too easy to become blindsided about where we're headed.
So buckle up. It's going to be a wild February, and we're excited you're along for the ride.
About The Author
Tommy Walker is the Editor-in-Chief of the Shopify Plus blog. It is his goal to provide high-volume ecommerce stores with deeply researched, honest advice for growing their customer base, revenues and profits. Get more from Tommy on Twitter.