What If You Could Live Anywhere?
Picture this. It's five years from now. You and your spouse decide that you'd like to take a Caribbean vacation. You log on the Internet where you visit a Caribbean resort index. One of them catches your eye. You click on two buttons, turn on your television and watch a 15 minute video tour of the resort. It still looks good. So you go back to your computer, click on the help button and a friendly young lady appears on your television. This is real time. You can hear and see her. She can hear you.
You ask her several questions which she answers for you. You are particularly interested in the nightlife of a nearby town. So she takes you on a video tour of the restaurants, clubs and casinos, answering your questions as you go. You decide that this is your resort. So she shows you several available rooms and you choose the one most to your liking. Next she helps you book an airline flight and a rental car.
If the resort had not been to your liking, she could have taken you on a virtual tour of any of several other Caribbean resorts. You could take this tour any time of the day. How is that possible? Simple. At all times, somewhere in the world, it is normal business hours. You see, she doesn't need to be at the resort. She takes control of your television signal and custom builds your tour from her library of video files. She can live anywhere.
Over the next ten years, more and more jobs will move onto the Internet. As this happens, an ever increasing number of families will realize that they are not restricted by job requirements to any particular geographic location. Approximately 70% say they would live somewhere other than a large, densely populated metropolitan area. Yet 70% of all people live in one. So, it appears that over the next ten or fifteen years there are going to be massive demographic shifts in North America and Europe.
Where will people choose to live? What criteria will they use? There will undoubtedly be far more than one answer to these questions. We can expect a diaspora. Certainly climate, geography and ecological characteristics will be significant criteria. However, the primary considerations will undoubtedly continue to be style and cost of homes, quality of schools and proximity to retail and cultural services.
Cities have had a homogeneity of design and flavor that greatly exceeds the degree of homogeneity of the population. Suburbs are a compromise between many different perspectives, lifestyle preferences and beliefs. This compromise has been necessary because the primary criterion of location is proximity to work. When this constraint is eliminated, people will have the opportunity to express their individuality more fully.
In essence, community and lifestyle will become a highly differentiated product. This is not a totally new idea. In 1994, Disney started Celebration, Florida. Although not particularly innovative, it was a conscious attempt to sell a community as a lifestyle, not simply a piece of real estate. Celebration has been successful, with a population now exceeding 4,000, despite home prices that typically approach, and frequently exceed, $1,000,000.
Celebration is the beginning of an Information Age phenomenon. It actually was started too early. The maturation of the the Internet that is taking place right now is the enabling event. By 2005, the 'community as a lifestyle' trend will be in full swing. The Third Millennium Project is currently building the organization that will be required to capitalize upon it.
The Industrial Age created a system of real estate development enterprises where typically the last step in the process was finding the home buyer. This causes the process to be capital intensive. Even though Celebration was an Information Age phenomenon that sold 'community and lifestyle' instead of just real estate, it was undertaken using Industrial Age business practices.
Some homes are custom built rather than built 'on spec'. One of the benefits of custom built homes is that the home buyer is found before design and construction is started. This lowers risk and capital requirements for the contractor and those that finance the construction. This idea can be expanded to a community. This means that the enterprise that creates the community doesn't need to find large amounts of financing until the residents of the community have been found. By prequalifying the potential residents, equity requirements are relatively small.
This is already being done on a small scale with CoHousing. With CoHousing, a Visionary will develop a concept for 10 - 50 homes, present it to many people and when a sufficient number of residents have been found, the project is taken to a contractor to be built. CoHousing is still being done on a small scale because of the restriction of proximity to work. As the trend toward the ability to live anywhere increases, the size of communities developed in this way can grow.
There are four tasks that must be completed before the potential for custom designed communities can become a reality. Each task represents a meaningful entrepreneurial opportunity. In essence, a new industry will develop whose product is 'community' in the fullest definition of the word.
Task One: The Visionaries
The first step in the process is to develop and describe a community that will appeal to some segment of the population. It must be perceived by its target market as a meaningful improvement over prevailing urban environments. A community is a system of facilitated lifestyles, architecture, economics, educational options, churches and governance. The development and presentation of a custom community will require the involvement of several people with vision and expertise in all these areas. Their initial product will be a web site that fully describes the community vision
Task Two: The Organizers
The Visionaries create a template for a distinctive community that can be expressed many times throughout the Free World. The Organizers find people who want to live in the described community. They organize them according to the geographic location that they prefer. They also assist those people who need it with opportunities to move their income producing activities on to the Internet or to the community itself. Organizers are connected with and knowledgeable about a specific Visionary Group.
Task Three: The Marketers
The Marketers bring people to the Organizer Groups. They may market all the Visions or perhaps only a subset of them, depending upon their marketing strategy. They will use traditional Internet marketing techniques, but they can also avail themselves of Leonardo and the NetTV tool. Their job is simple; create click-throughs to the Visionary web sites. The Marketers are independent. They may structure their strategy any way they want. They may do something as simple as a banner program or they may build MLM organizations. While Visionaries, Organizers and Implementers need to be part of the Third Millennium Project, Marketers do not.
Task Four: The Implementers
Once a sufficient number of families are found who want to live in a particular type of community in a particular location, it becomes economically feasible to build it. This will require the participation of real estate developers, contractors, architects, financial specialists and entrepreneurs. These people must become involved in a Vision early on so that they will be completely familiar with it and have the necessary financing and organization in place.
There are quite a few entrepreneurial opportunities that will facilitate and enable this major demographic shift. The Organizers will bring Internet income opportunities to its future residents. Consequently, there is an opportunity for those who want to build businesses that provide legitimate high value-added Internet jobs. Many of these communities will be sufficiently innovative that they will require alternative financing options. These will range from venture capital to mortgage financing. As a network of similar communities form throughout the developed world, there will be new business opportunities related to changing lifestyles and buying patterns.
A Plan for Development
Over the next thirty years more than 100 million families will move from traditional urban settings to new, Information Age communities. It will develop according to the mathematics of the S-curve. In other words, the first ten years will be a time of slow, but geometric growth. The second ten years will be characterized by fast geometric growth and the third ten years will be a slowing down in growth as market saturation is approached.
It is important that Visionaries, Organizers and Implementers become involved in the Third Millennium Project as soon as possible. Organizational development is the key to success. A given Vision will generally start with a core Visionary creating a thumbnail description of the Vision. This description will be the seed from which the organization grows. Organizers and Implementers need to be educated about the vision and will also provide feasibility feedback.
Marketing can begin in earnest when a web site that 'sells' is created. A reasonable time period for this is about six months. It should include maps, floor plans, and descriptions of the lifestyle. Successful Visions will center around a 'way of life' that resonates with some portion of the population. This may be primarily architecturally driven as in CoHousing, or it can be values based. One can envision a 'Green Community' and 'Family Values Community', etc. In each case, however, the web site must explain the concrete benefits of residency. A purely ideologically driven Vision will probably attract adherents, but not many residents.
When civilization moved from hunting/gathering to agriculture there was an attendant increase in standard of living. When it moved from agriculture to industry, again there was an increase. There will be an increase in standard of living for those people who move into the Information Age. Consequently, we expect that for successful community visions, the entrepreneurs will routinely realize six figure income or more. Those who invest in successful community visions will experience capital appreciation that is atypical of the Industrial Age. Simply put, economically, the Information Age will be more efficient and those who engage in it will reap the benefits.
By joining the Third Millennium Project you will gain access to those people who want to capitalize on this opportunity. If you are an entrepreneur, you will find affiliates and investors. If you are an investor, you will have access to their Private Placements as they become available. If you are a deal maker, you will gain access to deals. As is the case with most opportunities, the ones in first reap the most.
American Polymathic Institute
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