We need to talk. About The McFuture.
It’s now years after the recession. Unemployment is at record lows, stocks are at record highs, and many of us are at record widths. We float in this infinity pool of Nutella, Netflix, and nip slips. Things that would make Caesar blush. We can learn any skill, order any product, and communicate with – or pleasure ourselves to – anyone else on earth. We can freaking fly! To Florida! For $300!! Everyone with Ponce de Leon died getting to Florida.
Even rich people aren’t the demons of old. They used to hire goons to beat us up during factory riots. Today, they’re beating themselves up – in yoga, Zumba, and therapy. Half of them are on TV – showing us their freshly implanted boobs – and approximately where to go to take them hostage and steal their stuff. But we don’t. We don’t. This must be paradise.
But if this is paradise, why do the two presidential candidates with the most militant minions want to give America an extreme makeover?
One wants to build a EuroDisney with the help of a generous single-payer: somebody else. The other wants to make us great again, referencing some unknowable era. Is it when The Dukes of Hazzard was on TV? When farm work was seriously discounted? When I had hair?? Whichever it is, you fill in the blank, then paint yourself orange and wait – ‘cuz great deals are on the way!
Why are so many so eager to be saved? By a suddenly-competent government. Or, from Mexicans, Syrians and Chinese, who’ve been plotting to destroy America with dreams of a better life.
And it’s not just the US. In the Middle East, Europe and South America, extremism is replacing moderation like a bad Folgers Crystals ad. Everyone is itching, but no one knows why, where, or how to scratch it.
There’s a simple(ish) answer.
We’re going through a massive global puberty. Yeah, puberty.
Everything from Trumpism to terrorism to hashtag heroism are freshly sprouted zits and pubes. They’re part of a YUUUGE transition we’re woefully unprepared for – psychologically, professionally or politically.
Like puberty bestows an adult body to a child, technology gives us unwieldy powers. Imagine if baby Superman really crash-landed on earth. That little alien critter would trigger a genocide and a thermonuclear explosion – before his first diaper change. We can all agree that an indestructible flying baby that melts steel with its eyes is probably too powerful for Lourdes, your current nanny.
Consider Arab Spring, Perestroika, and the Venezuela shit show. The minute people leave one abusive tyrant, they immediately find a shittier one. It’s like if Rihanna broke up with Chris Brown to date OJ.
Democracy is a powerful force, but it demands people who are informed, who yearn for it, fight for it. But if the people aren’t ready…it just doesn’t work.
Same goes for the Internet and all its deadly spawn.
If in 1692, I casually mentioned that I could predict the weather, capture any image, and talk to anyone in China, I’d be burned as a witch. But we aren’t witches…most of us.
By any historical measure, we are gods. Nay, we are a confused, indestructible, alien, god-babies. We possess powers we can barely fathom, much less master. And they’re rewiring our brains, reshaping our bodies, molding our behaviors.
When you live in a world full of colon cleanses officially sanctioned by Gwyneth Paltrow, everyone starts to feel like greatness is within reach – even for our colons.
But few of us have any clue how to seize it – or even what to want. And the ones we ridicule – Kardashians, silicone housewives, and Silicon Valley bros – seem best adapted to rule this new world.
Some of them accept their Instagrammies with a smile. Others, unlock new levels of discontent, addiction or loneliness – like bigger, meaner monsters on new levels of a video game. Some of the most successful people I’ve met are fighting life’s biggest demons…and losing.
These growing pains foreshadow the massive changes coming:
Does anyone believe that in 50 years we’ll still have millions without healthcare when 80% of it can be provided by what’s already in our pockets? (No, not lint.)
Or, that we’ll still be propping up shady, horny oil sheikhs – while illuminated by free, unlimited energy?
Or that truck drivers will still do 16 hour shifts, struggling not to sideswipe America’s most precious resource, the stars of 30 Rock?
Or that there will still be millions staring at computer screens to earn a living?
Of course not.
In 50 years, staring at laptops all day will seem as bizarre as driving to a strip mall to rent a movie. #BeKindRewind
But something is missing.
On one side, is the world we’re in – and sort of understand. On the other is this amazing future with self-driving cars, leaps in life expectancy, and all the robot babes you can shag, without electrocuting yourself. All the bullshit futurists talk about.
But what about this uncomfortable middle ground? How do we get past this weird, long, awkward phase? How do we get to that abundant utopia? To iPhone 973?
This is what I’ve spent last four years researching. I studied startup founders, executives, endurance athletes, volunteers, fast food delivery guys. I took a fresh look at what economics has to offer – universal income, minimum wage, capitalism, libertarianism and Bernienomics. I even re-evaluated my faith in tech and innovation, where my bagels are schmeared. But my most surprising and important findings came from mining the ‘happiness industry’. Yes, there’s a Happiness Industry. Self-help, meditation, medication, apps, office jungle-jims, apps, yoga pants… But the harder I squeezed the lululemon, the more I soured on the shiny, superficial bullshit we’re being fed. It’s like feeding the hungry an all-M&M’s diet. Or, like compiling an entire religion using nothing but inspirational Facebook quotes.
Without ever expecting to do another book or podcast, I’ve been dripping clues to our future in pieces like Happiness Will Not Be Downloaded, The Economics of Happiness, The Prosperity Paradox, and Profiting From The Death Of Masculinity. But there’s so much more.
Each day, I try to inch closer to truth. To what life after puberty might be like – and what we should do about it.
So… Welcome to The Journey. I promise the payoff will be worth it.
But The McFuture isn’t just a journey for you. It’s a bit of liberation for me. This is the first time I’m creating things that legitimately scare me. Not only are the ideas scandalous and subversive, but they set fire to this safe corporate persona I’ve been manufacturing.
I’ve spent too long hiding behind other people’s brands – whether it’s Forbes, Harvard Business Review, LinkedIn Influencer, or every company I’ve ever worked for – including mine. For better or worse, I’m rocketing out of the closet – with mascara and assless chaps – prepared for judgement.
So join me on my redemption ride towards purpose, as we piece together ‘The McFuture’ – why we’re here, what it means, and where we’re going. It will have deep implications for everyone – entrepreneurs, students, parents, executives, marketers, that weird guy who makes party balloon animals.
How do you know if this site is for you? You’re still reading this.
So sign up for the mailing list, podcast, and The McFuture Facebook Group. There, I’m building a real community with real relationships – not only around my ideas, but yours. Most importantly, we’ll have plenty of laughs along the way.
See you there.