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back to the future

To Stand the Test of Time

Marty McFly: Where are we? When are we?
Doc: We’re descending toward Hill Valley, California, at 4:29 pm, on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015.
Marty McFly: 2015? You mean we’re in the future?
Jennifer: Future? Marty, what do you mean? How can we be in the future?
Marty McFly: Uh, Jennifer, um, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I… you’re in a time machine.
Jennifer: And this is the year ‘2015’?
Doc: October 21st, 2015.”

Ahh, who could have predicted the future from 1985?  An era when my high school mascot was the Bisons (now the Bison—there is no such thing as Bisons) and my college was known as the Redskins (now the RedHawks).

In 1985, Back to the Future was the top grossing movie of the year.  It was also a time when people spoke to each other in person and shared a laugh over dinner instead of LOL 🙂 over their phone.  When you had to ask someone out in person rather than texting them. 1985 was a time when people watched MTV for music videos, the network television stations still commanded the ratings and the Internet offered not much more than brochureware.

Back in the day you had to retouch photos through a process called keylines. You may have shared a computer with office colleagues and a traffic manager took images from office to office for sign-off.

A lot has changed in the past 30 years, including my hairline.  Today, the specialization and number of tactics available to personalize one’s experience has allowed marketers to create a truly 1:1 experience, as opposed to mass marketing.  Understanding consumer behavior has led to entirely new disciplines in user experience, social media and POEM (paid, owned and earned media). Newspaper, magazine and television content, distribution and advertising has changed as individuals consume media on their time and personalize what information they want to receive.

Some basic truths will always be true.

  • The best rewards in life are worth working hard for. For instance, the script of Back to the Future was rejected 40 times before it was finally green-lit.
  • Set goals and work hard achieve them.
  • Don’t give up on your dreams.
  • It is important to love what you do and wake up every day eager to attack the day

Not all changes are good.  I encourage us not to lose the idea of picking up a phone and calling someone.  Don’t just use Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to send a like, share or wink.  Personal relationships will always be at the core of good branding, sales, managing, family and friendship.  As Doc Brown said in the move, “Your future is whatever you make it.”

I’d love to hear your predictions for the next 30 years. Contact me at or call 440-449-6800.

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