The future is changing rapidly, are you ready for it?

The future is changing rapidly, are you ready for it?

There is no denying it, no matter where you work, what service you provide or what product you sell, technology has become a vital part of the way we do business. The more tech savvy a person is nowadays the more useful they can be in any job. Whether you’re an entry-level staff, CEO or entrepreneur you will need to be 1000% sure you are keeping up with all of the latest technological trends to stay competitive in this high paced economy.

Chef Rhea Gilkes’ hosts Wine World’s Friday Night Show

In 2018 it is easy to see how someone could easily fall way behind the technology train when over five thousand apps are introduced to the app stores every single day. We may think it trivial but the more you educate yourself about computers the more opportunities you will see coming up in all aspects of business. Think about this for a second, for the last thirty to fourty years, the graduates from the world’s best schools were being hired for jobs on Wall Street and the other major financial hubs in the world, that was where the money was. Where is the money in 2018? The answer to that big question is Silicon Valley.

Apple’s new Campus 2 Currently under construction in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is a region in the Southern San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California which serves as a global HUB for innovation, high technology and social media. It boasts the third highest GDP per capita in the world, only behind Zurich in Switzerland and Oslo in Norway. The Valley is home to 39 of the Fortune 1000 companies and thousands of other tech startups. You may have heard of some of the companies that have made their home in the Valley like Apple, Google, Facebook and also some other non-tech companies like Wells Fargo, Visa and Chevron.

Since the dotcom era began in the late nineties to early 2000s, Wall Street has experienced a brain drain as some of the world’s smartest people have left to start their own internet companies, apps and other businesses leveraging technology out in California, perfect example being Jeff Bezos, the worlds richest man and Amazon founder. Anyone graduating from the Ivy league schools is hoping to interview with the big tech companies not the big banks. Forty years ago Warren Buffet paved the way for the financial sector and everyone followed suit thinking they could invest money just as well as he could, but the millennial generation are looking up to tech giants like Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Spiegel (founder of SNAP Inc) who have amassed billion dollar net worths while still in their twenties.

Now you may ask where do I or Barbados fit in to any of this, after-all we are just here sitting on a 166 square-mile limestone rock way out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Out here on this rock however, we still have access to the same internet and information that everyone else in the world does. Ask any Bajan what our best resource on the island is and everyone will proudly say, “Our people are our greatest resource” this saying will only become more and more true over the next few years as our new government has begun taking steps to make our island more competitive on the global stage.

“The People” – University Of The West Indies Graduation Ceremony

The internet has produced a ridiculous amount of millionaires over the past few years. People from all different walks of life and countries. Some before even turning 18 have skyrocketed into fame and fortune through the internet. Whether they created a Youtube channel, blog, online store or started an app the internet is generating some serious cash for those participating.

In today’s society, there is no trying to hide the fact that it can be quite hard to find a job upon graduating from University. The boring old mantra we hear from our parents and mentors is “go to school, study hard get good grades and then you will be able to get a job with good benefits” While this saying may have been true in the past, every millenial can agree with me that today’s job market is probably the fiercest of all time with so many qualified individuals fighting for limited financial resources.

Hodders Mental Maths Competition First Prize Winner

 

I am not saying that learning to code, mastering any computer program or making a Youtube video of what you and your cat did today will make you into a millionaire, I am saying that they open up avenues that you may not have previously considered to be money making ventures.

Let’s use Carol as an example. Carol just graduated with her degree in creative writing with first class honors and is now looking  for a job in her field to no avail. Carol is extremely frustrated and has had to take a job at Burger King frying fries just to keep the lights on at night.  Let’s say her favorite thing to do is write fictional romance short stories in her spare time. Let’s say Carol begins to post her stories on a blogging site online where she eventually earns a small following. Let’s say a couple months in she has around 200 people checking her blog for her most recent short story. Now let’s say she’s a year in and has amassed a following of over 500 daily readers and starts to use social media ads to push her stories to a larger audience, no matter where you are in the world, if you are a sucker for romance novels Carol can target her social media ads to find you, and thousands of people just like you for anywhere around $1 a day. This is the power of the internet, Carol now has such a following that companies would be happy to pay her to promote their company either in her stories or with advertising on her page. What people forget about the internet is that over four billion people use it every single day, no matter how small you may think your platform or following is, it really is not that hard to grow it through very cheap advertising online. That’s how Carol could grow her business from right here in Barbados, her stories can easily reach everyone who has expressed an interest in romantic material over the internet through the use of internet cookies on all of the websites we visit daily.

Fast forward to 3 years from now, Carol has 500k followers on her blog and social media pages, charges users a monthly subscription to follow her page, charges companies hefty advertising dollars to promote their products on her page and has even started selling PDFs of how to write great short stories online for $5 each. Carol quit her job at BK and now makes as much money as the CFO yearly while working from home.

Many will say Carol got lucky or caught a good break, but that simply is not true. There are too many cases of young people becoming overnight success stories by leveraging technology in their favor.

Take a look at Trinidadian Andel Husbands who created the now famous WhereDPump mobile app for Trinidad before even going to University. Andel came up with a very simple solution to a big problem many people in Trinidad faced, what is there for me to do tonight? He was only able to create this app through knowledge of computer programming and coding.

Innovative updates such as the WhereMyCrew Feature

I’m not quite sure how Andel learned to create apps, but in reality there are over 50 websites where you can learn programming languages completely free like Codeacademy or Codewars just to name two.

The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation kindly invited the WavgMag team to their third hosting of the Innovate Barbados conference that was hosted in the LESC Center on the 7th and 8th of November this year. Over 300 conference attendees came together for an immersive event that brought learning, creativity, inspiration, networking and fun into one singular experience.  Innovate Barbados has become the hub where big ideas, bold endeavours and business collide. There was a huge focus on technology and entrepeneurship this year as Ronald Toppin, Minister of International Business gave the opening remarks mentioning how plans for the new government trust loans of up to $10,000 BDS will help Bajans become the next international entrepreneurs. He also mentioned the new BLP administration is trying to decrease imports and increase exports mainly in the renewable energy, cuisine, culture and services sectors.

Kirk-Anthony Hamilton – Co-founder & Director Tech Beach

Dr Denny Lewis-Bynoe, who is a senior economist in country economics at the World Bank then talked about the future of the world’s economy. She said that technology will only play a more and more pivotal role in the way we do business and that artifical intelligence has enormous potential to process large amounts of data and repetitive tasks. She went on to say that technology is shaping society at the consumer, business and government levels all equally. Ecommerce has enabled consumers to get goods at a far cheaper price, businesses can leverage all of the consumer data that they collect to improve operational efficiency and productivety and government can become more efficient by digitalizing all of their records and enabling all types of business and personal payments over the internet instead of face-to-face. She concluded her speech by saying that Barbados is currently 58th in the Human Development Index, which is the highest of any Caribbean nation, but ranked 132 out of 190 countries in doing business rankings(Jamaica is currently ranked 6th).  The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living. Why should we be the highest Caribbean country in terms of HDI and have such an educated population just to then be ranked as one of the worst countries in the world to do business in?

Luckily for us, Mia Mottley in an unprecedented show of strength and confidence in the economy, announced on November 20th, 2018 a new series of business tax measures to bolster the local and international sectors. From the fiscal year 2019, all corporate entities not selling insurance will be taxed on the following scale:

Profit

Tax Rates

Up to $1 million BBD:

5.50%

From BBD $1 million to BBD $20 million:

3.00%

From BBD $20 million to BBD $30 million:

2.50%

Over BBD $30 million:

1.00%

The previous rate applying to the majority of local businesses was 25%. This power move from Barbados’ Matriarch could spark much needed foreign investment to the island.

As we’ve reiterated, technology and the internet are taking over the world. With Barbados’ new tax structure we could be poised to be a landing spot for many new tech startups from around the world hoping to leverage our extremely low tax rates with our highly-educated population to make enormous profits for their international parent companies.

Barbados could easily be the headquarters for some of the world’s next huge technology companies looking to escape America’s 35% tax rate and high salary costs. As we embrace this new possible chapter in international investment and local entrepreneurship due to the low tax rates, how can you make sure you are getting a piece of the pie?

Locals can take this opportunity to start any businesses they had been thinking  about starting as they will automatically become more profitable being able to keep 20% more of their profit under the new laws. Many foreign businesses will be coming to our shores very soon in hopes of opening head offices and hiring staff equipped to do their work. Qualifications in Information Technology, Computer Science, Artifical Intelligence and the knowledge of programming languages like Java, Python and C++ will be preferred.

Whether you consider yourself tech-savvy or not, and no matter what career field you’re in, you have to come to terms with the fact that robots will replace 1 billion human jobs by the year 2030. That goes for you if you are a taxi-driver and driverless cars replace you, or if you’re a bank teller, grocery store clerk or receptionist being replaced by a tablet or screen, whether you’re a farmer being replaced by hydroponics or an accountant, lawyer or doctor being replaced by artifical intelligence.

Now some of you may say “I don’t have time to be a student again” or “My job does not require me to do any high-level computer work” but that is where I believe we as a people are not thinking broadly enough. We must embrace the future as it evolves, or be left behind.

Lecturer Jeremy Stephens hosting the “Accelerating Our Future” workshop

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