People are out of work in huge numbers. Home foreclosures threaten the security of the average family. Worry, anxiety and despair are approaching epidemic status. And we live in a nation that tells us that we are free to pursue happiness, that we can be all that we want to be and that there is no limit to our ability to succeed if we only apply ourselves.
After reading the above paragraph you might conclude that the American Path to Prosperity is just an illusion, a schoolhouse myth, a mirage toward which we walk only to find ourselves perpetually wandering in a dry desert. But listen to this story.
Only a few years ago the concept of people using portable telephones for more than the occasional call was beyond our comprehension. The idea of sending text messages, purchasing products, scanning the Internet, finding directions, taking a photograph and editing it with an “app” on such “portable telephones” are ideas that became reality only very, very recently.
But the platform upon which new ideas can be built is already there. Now the door to new opportunities is wide open again.
Take the company called “Square” for example. With the addition of a small, free dice-sized device that plugs into the headphone jack of your smart phone you can accept credit card payments for goods and services anywhere you can get a data signal on your phone. The idea was developed in 2009 by a guy who couldn’t get paid $2,000 because he didn’t accept credit cards. Now anybody can.
Apple has introduced a number of iPhone versions, but the newest of them provide an incredible platform for the development of “apps” by ordinary people who stand to make untold millions if their idea is good enough to catch on.
My son and I were walking around at a large festival a few years ago and went separate directions. To find each other we used our cell phones. I called him and told him where I was. He asked me to give him a landmark so he could find me. After we got together we thought about developing a program for cell phones that would work like a GPS tracking device so kids couldn’t get lost in crowds, families could find each other and you could locate a lost or mislaid phone. The cutting edge phone at the time was a Blackberry.
Today there are a number of “apps” to do just what we talked about. Many of them are free, the developers making their money off of advertising and other ways to mine and sell data collected from those of you who install the applications.
Now, with the upcoming national political conventions looming on the horizon, a number of developers are scrambling to find a way to turn the conventions into big telethons which would allow people to “text” a donation. The idea is that people could be encouraged by any number of speakers and stars to “Text your $10 donation” to a certain number bringing in untold millions in small donations.
Of course the developers are working just as hard to figure out how to make a percentage off of those texts and, once they perfect the process, will probably make untold millions themselves.
Authors are now aware that they can “e-publish” books and deliver them right to your iPad or your Kindle for a very small fee. They can still make tons of money but without the hassle of finding a publisher or incurring the staggering cost of printing and distribution. Authors can now develop an audience of loyal followers on their own terms.
With the development of so many new technologies for the delivery of goods and services all relying upon the platform of the cellular network suddenly there is a new “gold rush,” a new “oil boom” a new job market which is wide open and filled with hope.
Those who are feeling despair, feeling lost and feeling as if their financial situation is beyond their control need to lift their eyes and see the world as it really is.
Granted, if you’ve spent your life making buggy whips, the roar of automobiles racing by could be a bit depressing. But don’t forget, the greatest boom in American history was once hitched to the automobile industry and all of the satellite industries that sprung up around it.
Sure, Henry Ford made the cars, but his partner Kingsford, used the scrap wood to make charcoal, companies sprung up to make batteries, gasoline, oil, tires and, of course, there were those who found the opportunity to repair these things, repaint the cars, retread the tires, design new rims and all the rest.
Is America still the land of golden opportunity? You betcha. So the next time you find yourself frustrated by something, instead of throwing in the towel, think about how you could fix it and then find a way to market your solution to a world of frustrated people just like you.
You will never know what is behind a door until you open it, unless of course there is an “app” for that.
Marcus Carey is a Northern Kentucky lawyer with 32 years experience. He is also a farmer, talk radio host and public speaker who loves history and politics. He is a prolific and accomplished writer whose blog, BluegrassBulletin.com, is “dedicated to honest and respectful comment on the political and cultural issues of our time.” He writes a regular commentary for KyForward.