Where were you 10 years ago today?

On Jan 9th, 2007, I was in London, at the IDEO offices, sitting in one of their conference rooms with a bunch of Nokians and IDEO-ans. I do not recall if we were streaming the audio or refreshing a page of someone live blogging from the iPhone launch event [Update: Matt Miz says live streaming.].

We knew the phone was coming. But it was a momentous evening for us, nonetheless. I think we all knew it was the death-knell for Nokia if it couldn’t match what Apple was bringing to the table. We also cynically shared what we thought the executives’ reactions would be. In those reactions was a hint of the fear and the hubris that Nokia Mobile Phones couldn’t overcome.

The reason we were at the IDEO offices was to design a new world, where the internet and the mobile were united.* We envisioned a time when we’d be online with our phones all the time, constantly connected to our people and their content. Nokia was to be the gateway, the interface to a collection of small windows we could peek through or step through, depending on how much we wanted to do. Holding all the morsels of our internet experience together, Nokia would be the essential brand.

But that future never came to be. Though I see elements of what we envisioned spread across the world today.

Ten years on, Google, Apple, and Facebook are losing a grip on their hegemony, much as Nokia did back then. Once more, the players mediating our experience with reality are changing as they offer us new ways to connect, create, share, trade, and transport.

We knew Jan 9th, 2007, would mark a deep line in our lives. Alas, I haven’t seen anything since that has had that kind of built up expectation, reception, and potential impact. Ten years from now, what will we all be looking back to in 2017 as the deep shift in the future as we thought it would be?

Image from Kim Støvring

*Indeed, we were there for the kick-off meeting for the project I was to lead, as it was my vision, for those who care to know, or who have tried to forget.