History's Greatest Eras


The Columbus Day holiday and the passing of Steve Jobs have a connection through history’s greatest eras.

There have been three great periods of innovation since the dark ages. The first was around 1500, when the world emerged from the dark ages with the Gutenberg printing press, the discovery of a new world and the enlightenment.

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The second was perhaps the greatest, the 1900s, when electricity was harnessed, the light bulb discovered, the train, the car, the plane and the radio.

The third was around 2000 when the Internet was created (insert Al Gore joke here), the tablet was invented and connectivity around the world started.

Christopher Columbus was certainly a major figure of the first, though I certainly have a problem with making a holiday for a person who got lost on his way to enslave and steal from a nation. To me it would be like the Somalian pirates discovering something while murdering and robbing people and then naming a holiday after them.

I don’t think, however, that many would argue that Steve Jobs was the greatest innovator of this third period. While maybe not an inventor, definitely an innovator that the modern world has rarely seen.

Jobs' innovation of the iPad and iPhone helped a world connect. The continent of Africa had around two million cell phones in the late 1990s and a decade later, having around 400 million, you realize the impact of connectivity. Now with Apple devices, and others, this is being replicated worldwide.

All three periods created the super wealthy -- and this period is no different. Three of the big four Internet companies are new -- Facebook, Amazon, and Google. The other, Apple, was created during our generation and together they have created almost a trillion dollars of market cap.

I believe the future belongs to three key areas, and this is where investors will become the super rich of our era:

Connectivity -- The world is becoming one society on the Internet. The opportunities with a connected world are a dream for investors. Think only of pay per views for boxing, wrestling or MMA; once a world becomes accustomed and educated to buying content (and anti-piracy technology becomes better) over the Internet, sales will go up sharply, and without a split from a local cable company.

Sustainability -- A population boom occurred with modern medicine, and the population growth of the world is a cause for concern for sustainability. This excess demand on limited resources will be addressed over the next couple of decades with trillions of dollars of spending. Genetic farming and ocean fish farming are sectors of growth.

Power generation -- With increased population and increased connectivity, the demand for electricity and fuel is set to double again by 2030 (it has doubled since 1980). We don’t have the current ability to handle this. Trillions will be spent on the additional capacity.

We are in a period of economic slowdown and have many structural faults we have to deal with, and with politics as bad as they are our path is not certain. However, we are also in one of history’s greatest periods of growth ever, and the time for the super rich is upon us. It is a matter for each of us to get our share.

John Layfield, formerly known as JBL, was the longest reigning WWE Champion in Smackdown television history, retiring after 17 years of pro wrestling. John, a former collegiate All-American and pro football player, is a lifelong entrepreneur who has worked as an investment banker, is series 7 and 24 qualified, and is currently an active private investor. His Internet radio show can be heard at www.JohnLayfieldShow.com.

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