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Preparing for the Future

Preparing for the Future
With Dave Nelsen, our 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Dave Nelsen never set out to be a speaker. He built, funded and successfully sold two software companies and worked for a third. He was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, and was honored as CEO of the Year by the Tech Council.

But in 2009, he was inspired to educate his own Vistage group about how to leverage social media—and that took on a life of its own. “I had no larger ambition when it came to speaking, but I was strongly encouraged to share my social media program with the entire Vistage community.”

That was 10 years and roughly 1,000 presentations ago. In 2016, Nelsen sold his last software company and became a Vistage speaker full time.

In his newest Vistage speaker program, “The future and how to prosper in it,” Nelsen paints a picture of the not-too-distant future. It’s pretty dramatic. For example, within 10 years, the notorious LA traffic may largely disappear because autonomous vehicles can follow close together, almost like railroad cars.

According to Nelsen, the world is going through rapid change, and he predicts a radical departure from the way things are today. He predicts that in just six years, self-driving cars will be the norm.

Half of all current jobs will be replaced by machines within 20 years.

Dave Nelsen | Vistage Speaker

“That means the cost of transportation comes down. Car dealerships start closing. There are fewer crashes and fewer injuries. Insurance rates go down, their revenues start to collapse, and they cut staff radically. There will be less of a need for auto body shops and for people who drive for a living. There are all of these cascading effects. Whole industries will collapse, but new opportunities will arise,” he says.

“And that’s just an example of one new technology. Let’s not even start on artificial intelligence and the professionals it will replace. Industrialization was essentially substituting for muscle power, freeing us from physical tasks. Technology is moving us into the cognitive and intellectual domain where most of the professional jobs are.”

His prediction?

“Half of all current jobs will be replaced by machines within 20 years.” He also speculates about how people will earn a living in the future—but you’ll have to attend his program to find out: “Approximately 85% of Vistage members are utterly shocked by what I reveal.”

“Ultimately my message to Vistage members is that you want to be the first to benefit as artificial intelligence, robotics and technology move into the cognitive domain. If you can have a reasonable picture of the future, you can make better decisions, better allocations and better investments.

“The good news is that as a Vistage member, you’re already ahead of the curve. You’re exposed to new perspectives, so you are used to adapting to change.”

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