For most of us, probably all of us, 2008 will be remembered as a landmark year, for a variety of very good, clear reasons.
But what of 2009? 2010?
Although it doesn't sell newspapers, or probably blog posts, the reality of our near-term future is that we're about to see some amazingly great stuff happen. Massive innovation. Probably at levels the likes of which we haven't seen before.
Because necessity is the mother of invention.
And because, given economic history, this rather hackneyed missive is born out. Whenever economies go through a trough, what comes out the other end is some pretty good stuff.
You want proof, don't you?
Sure, let's talk about The Year Without a Summer, 1816, aka "The Poverty Year".
The basic story of this year is that several volcanic events occurred which caused widespread famine. The big one was the volcanic eruptions of Mt. Tambora from April 5 - 15, 1815, arguably the world's largest in at least 1,600 years. This was on top of two prior volcanic events in 1812 (Saint Vincent) and 1814 (Mayon). These three events combined to create a real problem - blockage of the sun's rays. You know, the stuff that's needed for plants to photosynthesize.
And, since most of the world was running on agrarian economies that are based on plant life, things went from bad to worse in a hurry. Corn traded at an all-time high. All-time high!
Horses were killed for their meat. Basically, this eliminated a key part of the transport system, such as it was, at the time. As in, everyone then had to walk everywhere instead of ride on horse or carriage.
It has been hypothesized by Hans-Erhard Lessing that the inventor of the earliest forerunner of the modern bicycle, Baron Karl von Drais, created this new-found contraption, the Draisienne, in 1817 because of this lack of basic transport. von Drais also created a binary numbering system, a paper-strip piano-music recorder, and a typewriter, so he was no slouch when it came to inventing stuff ("Bicycling Science", 3rd Edition, David Gordon Wilson).
Hey, that's pretty good. Bicycles are a really good thing! One of the most efficient modes of personal transport going.
Also, Mary Shelly penned "Frankenstein", and John William Polidori wrote "The Vampyre" in the summer of 1816 as part of a contest to write the scariest story during their vacation in Switzerland because it rained so much they were forced to stay indoors.
Like I said, the mother of invention.
So, drop those emotional weights you're carrying from 2008 and look ahead. Thinking caps are already on, midnight oil is being burned, and we're about to see some amazing stuff get created.
You do wanna be part of this, right? Go find your thinking cap, get your game on.